Culture, Healing, and Professional Obligations
Hastings Center Report. 1993 Jul-Aug; 23(4): 15-17.
This case illustrates a number of complex issues clinicians face when patients' culturally appropriate treatments are at odds with the clinician's methods of therapy. Our general view in such cases is that there are good reasons for respecting culturally differing practices, particularly when they fit into a larger rationale of explanations for health and illness, good and evil. Ms. Saeto's belief, as recounted here, appears to be well grounded in her culture; it is practiced widely; the reasons for it are widely understood among the Iu Mien; the procedure, from a Mien point of view, works; Ms. Saeto's application of the procedure, as recounted here, appears in accordance with Mien customs and not merely a personal and culturally unaccepted practice. This rules out concerns that her actions stemmed from ill-will, insanity, irrationality, and the like.
Alternative Therapies; Asian Americans; Burns; Case Studies; Communication; Cultural Pluralism; Culture; Ethical Relativism; Health; Infants; Injuries; Illness; Medicine; Methods; Minority Groups; Misconduct; Pain; Patient Care; Patients; Physician Patient Relationship; Physician's Role; Torture; Values;