Trust vs Distrust

I personally trust and will listen to the health care providers that are treating me and working on me because of how I was raised to look at them. They are leaders, smart, intelligent people who I was told were always right, and I think that it s general statement when it comes to American society. We praise those that are leaders and those that are passionate about what they do. We base our trust on people who have done their time and gone to school because it is our culture. Though not every single person feels this way, Id bet that a lot of people would assume the same thing. Of course this is an American thing and not all cultures are going to feel the same way. There are several cultures that have been practicing more herbal and natural treatments to things and are more willing to listen to herbalists than medical professions and its all based on where you’re from, what you are taught to listen to, and how you were raised. You can’t force someone to see the same things as you because no matter what everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if they do begin to believe you its because you did a really good job at either sweet talking your way there or just forcing them to think this way by brainwashing them. Think of it as putting a spartan in Ann Arbor and trying to tell them that they are a wolverine. How much persuasion would you need to force them to think that?

The wolverine is a very mild comparison to those of the Hmong culture. They were treated worse than other individuals and that made them push away from the American medical staff,which is completely understandable. If someone was treating me that way I would resent them just as much as they did because if you want to gain my trust and support I should be treated as either an equal or a superior. Its just common sense. There are so many options for health care when looking at different cultures as I mentioned earlier so making a group of people do things one way when they already practice and do things a certain way is a hard to thing to accept and change. Also because this is a medical practice, it is harder to make people change because it is such a spiritual aspect of life. Because it is so different than the Americans way of practicing medicine I can see why it was such a struggle for them to “change their ways” and be forced to practice as the American do. The videos did a great job at helping me embrace culture and how I as a future nurse will run into these issues every day and how to start going about some of these problems. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye and it will be a struggle but what people choose to believe in is something sacred and trying to force them to do something they are not willing to do just isn’t right.

To specifically talk about the Lee family and the miscommunication they had is just sad. They were without a translator and if they would have had one their daughter would have been in a much safer environment for their health. This is an example of something I know I will see every day in the hospital because as a student who shadows frequently in Detroit there are many times where nurses and doctors have to use family members or interpreter phones to communicate with patients. So many hospitals are now using them more frequently and it is such a great way to make the world of medicine a less hostile and stressful environment because we can see what the patient is feeling and needs without making a mistake medically or against their culture beliefs.

Taking a step back and thinking about what the patient would do is definitely a way to resolve issues that could result from cross culture practices. Also if this was incorporated more in schooling of medical professionals it would have a chance to prevent further miscommunication from happening.

Gray, Annabelle. Hospitals turning to interpreter hot lines to bridge language barrier. 2010.

3 thoughts on “Trust vs Distrust

  1. You have brought up some good points that I wish to elaborate on. The Spartan wolverine metaphor was a good demonstration of the issue but it the real situation is a little bit more complicated. This situation is not just about two clashing opinions on medicine, stemming from cultural difference. It is a little more nuanced. With the Spartan wolverine example, you have two people with different identities that they are proud of and hold on to. The Hmong the case is a little different. While we have two extremely different identities, one is in a position of power and authority. The Hmong are “supposed” to disregard their opinions on the medicine (Like in the case of Lia’s family) and take the advice of the doctors completely. Furthermore, the failure of the physicians in the United States ability to understand the Hmong historical resistance to power and authority further complicates this issue. The Hmong fought in the secret war with the U.S.A only to end up as refugees after the war. Giving them more reason to distrust people in authority. With Lia’s family, this was the case. Lia’s family immigrated to America after the war and they brought with them their traditions. Among their traditions, was the Hmong’s fierce resistance to authority. This put them at odds with the physicians that were treating Lia. It was important for the physicians to understand this context before doing treatments on Lia. I think it was important to add the power dynamic to the relationship between the Hmong and the physicians to your argument. Because it’s a little more nuanced than just clashing cultures.

  2. I was raised the same exact way when it comes to how I view health care providers. I agree that this is the way a lot of Americans feel about doctors. When kinds are younger, one of the most common answers to what they want to be when they grow up is doctors. I believe it is this way because they are so well respected for the amount of time they dedicated to school and to others. When learning about other cultures that don’t train their doctors in the same way, I will admit that I am skeptical. I love your comparison of putting a Spartan in Ann Arbor. You cannot convince anyone to believe or do anything unless they personally want to. Especially when the Hmong people are raised to believe in their culture and the spiritual aspects of health care, we cannot simply expect them to comply to our ways. This class as a whole has been a very eye opening experience and has caused me to look at many scenarios from the opposite perspective. Just because we, as Americans, trust our healthcare providers and the way they do things, does not mean it is the best case for everyone. I hope that when I am in the medical field later on, I remember to assess all aspects of my patient including their culture and beliefs.

  3. Hi Katie! I really liked the ideas that you wrote about this week and enjoyed reading your post all together. I thought it was smart to include the American aspect of our own health care system. Looking at it from a different perspective and realizing that we trust our own medical practices that we have been raised on, more than we would any “foreign” medicine ideals, makes it easier to see how difficult the Lee family’s assimilation must have been. If I were to be forced to be treated based on the kind of medical practices that a new country I have moved to goes by, then I would be untrusting as well. When you grow up learning what is best for you in a different aspect than a new country’s medical standards, it can be very hard to adjust accordingly. In fact, I do not think that it is completely necessary for a family like the Lee family to have to completely forget their backgrounds and beliefs and fully trust our western medical system. Their beliefs about healing are important issues that they were raised on and just as I would not want to forget about how I was raised, refugee families should not either. I believe that there should be a happy medium or a mix between our Western medical way of doing things, and the healing practices and beliefs of our cultures.

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