It is ironic that in a country famous for liberty, the Lees had less freedom than they did in Laos. Foua explained how in Laos, even though it was less comfortable, the family owned their own fields, rice, plants, and fruit trees. In the US, they were dependent upon other people for welfare. In Laos, too, parents were considered the ultimate decision-makers in regards to the welfare of their children, whereas in the US, the Lees lost custody of their daughter Lia for a year upon the recommendation of Lia's doctor.
It is ironic that Foua and Nao Kao were declared to be child abusers, when they showered Lia with more love and affection than most parents would have done. Even when Lia could do little more than eat and cry, her parents cared for her as they would have for any child, bathing her every day, celebrating her birthday, and even holding shamanic ceremonies for her to ease her suffering.
Jeanine loved the Lees and did her best to make Lia's life better. It is ironic that she ended up in a similar state: an asthma attack resulted in such severe oxygen deprivation that she lost all brain function, just as Lia had.
The biggest irony is that the Lees may have been right all along - that Lia may have gotten sick because of too much medicine. Terry Hutchinson, her neurologist at Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno, explained that her brain damage occurred as a result of septic shock, which is caused by a bacillus in her blood. It may be that the Depakene her doctors had prescribed for the seizures compromised her immune system and made her more susceptible to the bacillus. It is possible that Lia would have been better off with a less good doctor who did not insist on medical compliance nor remove Lia from her parents' custody.
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