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Chapter 5

L48 Anthro 3283 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Child Protective Services, Status Epilepticus, Palpation


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
L48 Anthro 3283
Professor
Benson Peter
Chapter
5

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Fadiman Chapter 5 (p. 38-59)
Between 8 months and 4 years old, Lia visited MCMC 17 times and made 100 outpatient
visits to the ER and pediatric clinic
Had hallucinations, seizures got worse; in most serious episodes, she would seize without
regaining consciousness status epilepticus (seizures that last 20 min or longer)
Lia is overweight, made it difficult to deal with the seizures
o Father didn’t think it was bad; a plump Hmong child was perceived as healthy and
well cared for
o A vein hidden under fat is hard to palpate
She eventually lost the veins in her arm, because they have been needled so much
The less she moved the longer the IVs would last
Dad didn’t understand why the nurses tied her up
Lia got hurt under the supervision of people who claimed to know more than the Lees on
how to keep her healthy, but they responded in a way, from the Lee’s point of view, that
was sadistic
o She had a huge bump on her forehead as a result of falling out of her bed
Hospital is a hard place for any parent; takes all the autonomy of being a parent away;
even harder if you are from a different culture and don’t understand these experiences
Hmong fathers loved sons more; okay if girl died; but Lia’s family wanted so much for
her to live, and adored her
Lia was bold, not afraid, a character; even though frustrating and caused grief
She did not like taking medicine; spit it out; family had an even harder time giving to her
than the nurses, since they were reluctant to force her
o Drug regimen became very complicated
By the time she was 4, she was taking a long list of medications; her prescription changed
23 times in less than 4 years
Her family could not read the instructions, illiterate in Hmong and English; and because
their prescriptions changed so frequently, they forgot what the doctors told them
o Did not occur to the doctors that her parents would fail to give her meds correctly
o Couldn’t tell if they couldn’t understand them or if they didn’t want to give her
the meds
June 1983 MCMC sent a nurse home with then, accompanied by a Hmong interpreter,
to try to improve the family’s compliance with her medicine regimen
o Non-compliant mom
o Parents happy with her medication and treatment as reported by the nurses
Parents reluctant to follow medications, because thought it caused more problems,
seizures, fevers
o The idea that the drugs prescribed to cure, or at least attempt to cure an illness are
in fact causing it is not one that most doctors ever encounter
o Doctors not used to patients not listening or believing them
Arnie 2-year-old little boy with cancer; went through chemo and lost all his hair, and
puked every time he took his meds, so parents didn’t want to continue with the treatment
o Doctors gave them 3 days warning, and called Child Protective Services, for child
abuse; social workers and police officers came
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