The story of the Hmong culture is certainly not one we’ve heard before, and unfortunately one that we will hear again. Proxy wars in Laos sent many Hmong people into war against a certain part of Vietnam. Due to this many families moved to the land of the free, America, and suddenly became immigrants. They traded in their homelands and everything they’d known to move to America, only to be kept in a secluded area known as refugee camps. They had many issues adjusting, just like anyone would moving to a different country, but their biggest issue of all was the US medical science.
A prime example of this was Lia Lee’s, a member of a family that was one of many that fled to the United States. “Lia, who would become a symbol for incorporating cultural understanding into medical care, was the first American-born daughter of a fiercely loving Hmong family.” (Marcum 2012). Lia lived many years more than doctors could’ve imagined, but the disease that ultimately killed her was epilepsy and sepsis, that left her in a somatic state. Her parent’s were convinced that it was love that kept her alive so long, not medicine. Because the parents were traditional Hmong people, they wanted to try the traditional alternative to medicine when their daughter got sick. They believed her spirit just had to find it’s home. The issue with this was that the US wanted to take her away from the parents, because they thought they weren’t doing anything to help the child. This is what I think was really significant about refugees coming to America.
She was also the main topic of Anne Faidman’s “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”. This goes on to discuss more of the issues that the United States health care systems has with other cultures. Doctors and nurses obviously know many ways to go about saving lives, but some people don’t believe in that. I know that in the Jehovah Witness religion, you cannot accept a blood transfusion “This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood. Also, God views blood as representing life.” Something I was happy to hear was that doctors now are learning alternatives to abstain from blood transfusions when possible. If I had any recommendations to improve our health it would be to push them to figure out other ways to still help save lives. Maybe more doctors of different cultures can specialize in their religion and work on ways to holistically please the patients.
20, September. “Lia Lee Dies at 30; Figure in Cultural Dispute over Epilepsy Treatment.” Los Angeles Times. 2012. Accessed August 10, 2016. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/20/local/la-me-lia-lee-20120920.
“Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Accept Blood Transfusions?” JW.ORG. Accessed August 10, 2016. https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/jehovahs-witnesses-why-no-blood-transfusions/.