Lia Lee

To Merced, Calif., doctors, Lia Lee, who died Aug. 31 at 30, had been a toddler with epilepsy who required anticonvulsant medication. To her Hmong refugee parents, who were animists, Lia was a blessing who suffered from qaug dab peg, an illness in which "the spirit catches you and you fall down," so they treated her with shamanistic rituals. At age 4, Lia was left brain-dead after a grand mal seizure. The culture clash is the subject of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman's award-winning 1997 book that has become a case study in cross-cultural medicine and...

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