Academic Summary Fadiman`s Preface – Chapter 4

Academic Summary Fadiman`s Preface – Chapter 4

AcademicSummary: Fadiman`s Preface – Chapter 4

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AcademicSummary: Fadiman`s Preface – Chapter 4

Fromthis chapter, it is clear that Hmong, one of the characterstraditionally mistrusts all the western medicine, and it is said thathe did that for a good reason (Fadiman, 2002). The chapter thusplaces the conflicts that existed in the context by criticallyexamining the type of an uneasy relationship that existed between theHmong and all the Western medical system. The author deeply exploresthe various reasons that are believed to be behind the various taboosheld by Hmong including the blood taking and the surgery. Theybelieved that most of the procedures carried out by doctors seemed tobe doing more harm than good to them. It is argued from the chapterthat the Hmong held a strong belief that the human body had a finiteamount of blood therefore, taking blood repeatedly is thus harmfulif not fatal. They also held the belief that people’s souls areoften wondering whenever one is unconscious thus, anesthesia couldresult in illness or even death.

TheHmong also considered surgery to be a taboo since cutting the humanbody would in the process lead to a perpetual imbalance and even adisfigurement in the life to come. In addition to this, the Hmongforbids autopsies since they believed that souls could not be rebornin an event where an organ has been removed after death. Therefore,they opted for the use of antibiotics, and this is because the shotsgenerally reminded the Hmong of the traditional dermal form oftreatment including acupuncture, scraping with implements or evenburning. They thus welcomed a pill or a particular shot, which couldcure a specific infection overnight (Fadiman, 2002).

Further,the chapter has also presented Dwight Conquergood, who is the bestexample of an ethnographer. Dwight Conquergood is said to respect theHmong culture and as a result of this, he felt that the existingknowledge need to be transferred specifically in two directions. Thistwo-directional transfer of knowledge should be such that the Westerndoctors and the Hmong healers should be able to learn from oneanother. Further, Dwight Conquergood presented public healthinformation by the use of theater and the characters from the Hmongtales in a clear form that it was easily understood and accepted bythe Hmong (Fadiman, 2002). Dwight also noted that doctors and nursescut off spirit-strings routinely from the people’s wrists or eveneck-wrings that had the souls of the infants since they consideredthem unsanitary.

Insteadof the doctors working with the Shamans, they undermined theirauthority. Most of the Hmong generally considered all hospitals to behousing spirits of those people who had died and were also eager toclaim more souls. Therefore, they were likely to use the indigenousarts of healing of shamanism, herbalist, and dermal treatment. Theother reason the Hmong avoided hospitals was because the medicalstaff were all Christian missionaries who were believed to havemistrust on the indigenous forms of medicine and had no respect forthe traditional beliefs.

Itcan be argued that the Hmong were more than willing to change thanthe way it had been asserted by medical staffs. This would be so aslong as the Hmong can significantly comprehend all the potentialbenefits that come from such change. It can be argued that the Hmongare often not unwilling to compromise provided they fully understandthe basic reasons for doing so. Conquergood also believed that allthe western doctors and the nurses who were at the camp were all lesssuccessful. This is because, they tend to regard themselves to beholding all the knowledge instead of reviewing their association asone form of mutual learning (Fadiman, 2002).

References

Fadiman,A. (2002). SpiritCatches You and You Fall Down.United States: Farrar Straus and Giroux.