The purpose of this paper is to analyze and critique the book, Caring for Patients from Different Cultures, by Geri-Ann Galanti.
The positive aspects of this book are numerous. The author begins by discussing the problems involved with caring for patients of different races and ethnic backgrounds. On page 1, the author asks the most important question, "What happens if the health care providers do not understand why Asian patients rarely ask for pain medication and Mediterranean patients want it for the slightest discomfort", and why Middle Eastern patients will not allow a male physician to examine their women, and others will.
Ethnic diversity in America has always been regarded as a good thing, but it leads to serious problems where patients in hospitals are concerned. Culture, according to the author, means that which encompasses beliefs and behaviors that are learned and shared by members of a group (p. 2). The author also gives us the meaning of generalizations as opposed to stereotypes (p. 2). She uses many generalizations to illustrate the examples. Values is another term used frequently by the author to discuss the problems inherent in health care (p. 3). The most interesting term used here is, however, the concept of "world view". This idea is used to illustrate people's basic assumptions about the nature of reality (p. 5).
More to the point, the case-illustrations give us a clue into the nature of the problems inherent in giving health care to people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds than our own. On page 15, the author discusses the case of a woman who had to have a hysterectomy. Her son translated the opinion of the doctor to her, but since he was a Hispanic, he told her that she had a tumor that had to be removed. Why? Because since Hispanic women value their ability to have large families, telling her that her uterus would have to be removed would have crushed her emotionally. So her son...