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January 28, 1983

Indochinese Patients: Cultural Aspects of the Medical and Psychiatric Care of Indochinese Refugees

Author Affiliations

Madigan Army Medical Center Tacoma, Wash

JAMA. 1983;249(4):530. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330280072045

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This book is a part of the Refugees Among Us series written to provide information about the Indochinese, past and present, with special reference to their traumatic adaptation to our society. It is written by a prominent Vietnamese psychiatrist-family practitioner, himself a refugee in 1975. It provides profound insight into the problems that beset adequate health care utilization as seen through the eyes of the refugee himself.

Frustration and isolation typify the Vietnamese interaction with the American health scene. The refugee sees himself as different and may have little confidence in the physician's ability to understand his illness. He is fascinated by his gadgetry, almost demanding of his medicines and injections, but not necessarily accepting of his advice. Western medications are considered too strong, and dose reduction is common. Follow-up visits are not deemed necessary if the physician is merely going to continue the same treatment or if no symptoms