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A study in the collision between Western medicine and the beliefs of a traditional culture focuses on a hospitalized child of Laotian immigrants whose belief that illness is a spiritual matter comes into conflict with doctors' methods.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication. Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.
Discusses a sick child of Laotian immigrants whose beliefs conflict with Western medicine
Medical experimentation on human subjects during the Third Reich raises deep moral and ethical questions. This volume features prominent voices in the filed of bioethics reflecting on a wide rang of topics and issues. Amid all contemporary discussions of ethical in science, many ethicists, historians, Holocaust specialists and medical professionals strongly feel that we should understand the past in order to make more enlightened ethical decisions.
In this case study, readers will embark on an improbable journey through the heart of Africa to discover how indigenous people cope with the rapid-killing Ebola virus. The Hewletts are the first anthropologists ever invited by the World Health Organization to join a medical intervention team and assist in efforts to control an Ebola outbreak. Their account addresses political, structural, psychological, and cultural factors, along with conventional intervention protocols as problematic to achieving medical objectives. They find obvious historical and cultural answers to otherwise-puzzling questions about why village people often flee, refuse to cooperate, and sometimes physically attack members of intervention teams. Perhaps surprisingly, readers will discover how some cultural practices of local people are helpful and should be incorporated into control procedures. The authors shed new light on a continuing debate about the motivation for human behavior by showing how local responses to epidemics are rooted both in culture and in human nature. Well-supported recommendations emerge from a comparative analysis of Central African cases and pandemics worldwide to suggest how the United States and other countries might use anthropologists and the insights of anthropologists to mount more effective public health campaigns, with particular attention to avian flu and bioterrorism. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.
The editors of the third edition of the seminal textbook Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology bring it completely up to date for both instructors and students. The collection of 49 readings (17 of them new to this edition) offers extensive background description and exposes students to the breadth of theoretical, methodological, and practical perspectives and issues in the field of medical anthropology. The text provides specific examples and case studies of research as it is applied to a range of health settings: from cross-cultural clinical encounters to cultural analysis of new biomedical technologies and the implementation of programs in global health settings. The new edition features: • a major revision that eliminates many older readings in favor of more fresh, relevant selections; • a new section on structural violence that looks at the impact of poverty and other forms of social marginalization on health; • an updated and expanded section on “Conceptual Tools,” including new research and ideas that are currently driving the field of medical anthropology forward (such as epigenetics and syndemics); • new chapters on climate change, Ebola, PTSD among Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, eating disorders, and autism, among others; • recent articles from Margaret Mead Award winners Sera Young, Seth Holmes, and Erin Finley, along with new articles by such established medical anthropologists as Paul Farmer and Merrill Singer.
For thousands of years, healers have used plants to cure illness. Aspirin, the world's most widely used drug, is based on compounds originally extracted from the bark of a willow tree, and more than a quarter of medicines found on pharmacy shelves contain plant compounds. Now Western medicine, faced with health crises such as AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, has begun to look to the healing plants used by indigenous peoples to develop powerful new medicines. Nowhere is the search more promising than in the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest, home to a quarter of all botanical species on this planet—as well as hundreds of Indian tribes whose medicinal plants have never been studied by Western scientists. In Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin recounts his travels and studies with some of the most powerful Amazonian shamans, who taught him the plant lore their tribes have spent thousands of years gleaning from the rain forest. For more than a decade, Dr. Plotkin has raced against time to harvest and record new plants before the rain forests' fragile ecosystems succumb to overdevelopment—and before the Indians abandon their own culture and learning for the seductive appeal of Western material culture. Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice relates nine of the author's quests, taking the reader along on a wild odyssey as he participates in healing rituals; discovers the secret of curare, the lethal arrow poison that kills in minutes; tries the hallucinogenic snuff epena that enables the Indians to speak with their spirit world; and earns the respect and fellowship of the mysterious shamans as he proves that he shares both their endurance and their reverence for the rain forest. Mark Plotkin combines the Darwinian spirit of the great writer-explorers of the nineteenth century—curious, discursive, and rigorously scientific—with a very modern concern for the erosion of our environment and the vanishing culture of native peoples.

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