Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
by Anne Fadiman
Editor: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
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During three months Lia Lee arrived at the County Emergency Room Hospital in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run “Silent War” in Laos.The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely independent of people, were less willing to assimilate most immigrants, adhering firmly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors.Lia is a paediatrician, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, who is just as strongly divided from another tradition: that of Western medicine.When Lia Lee entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic seizure, his story became a tragic case of cultural history, miscommunication and miscommunication.
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