The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman Plot Summary The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the story of a Hmong Family, the…

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – By Anne Fadiman

The basic premise of the book is that a collision of two cultures – Hmong and American – led to a medical tragedy for Lia Lee; a little Hmong girl who is born in the United States and soon develops a severe case of epilepsy. She suffers severe grand mal seizures and eventually, as a result, becomes vegetative for the rest of her life. The key point, however, is not Lia’s epilepsy as much as it is the cultural barriers that led to her being brain dead. The author advocates the understanding of cultural differences as part of any patient’s medical treatment and uses this cultural collision as a way of discussing Western and Eastern medicine and how each group views the patient in such different ways.

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