Health and Healthcare. It’s about science, biology, so it should be value neutral, right?
Far from it. From the preponderance of genetic disease in some ethnicities, to lifestyle and cultural practices, to our very concept of wellbeing, health and our approach to management and promotion are intrinsically rooted in identity and culture. And hence it is essential that healthcare providers understand cultures and be culturally fluent in order to navigate the complex interplay between healthy and identity.
Of course, for individuals in a cross cultural relationship or of dual heritage, their health care needs can be excruciatingly difficult to navigate. Take this real life case of Thea’s Transfusion. Thea’s identity posited on the acrimonious divorce of her parents; her mother a devout Jehovah’s Witness and her father fervently opposed to the sect. It is clear from this case, that Thea walked with some difficulty the fine line between the diametrically opposed religious perspectives of both her parents. But surely, no party could have forseen the emergency circumstances that would bring Thea’s convictions into crisis along with her very life and that of her unborn child.
How would the British courts unravel the complex interplay between Thea’s own ambivalent faith, her right to choose or reject medical treatment and the spectre of undue duress?
Find out this month in GOLDENROOM at:http://goldenroom.co.uk/issue/may-2013/article/from-the-bench-theas-transfusion