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Icarus Film
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From the Fanlight Collection
Hold Your Breath
Directed by Maren Grainger-Monsen, M.D. and Julia Haslett
Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
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Mohammad Kochi, a deeply devout Afghan immigrant who believes that only Allah can determine the span of his life, faces possible death from stomach cancer. As they treat the disease, his American doctors try to comprehend his faith and respect his viewpoints, but cultural and linguistic confusions complicate the course of his treatment. Meanwhile his daughters, caught between Afghan and American culture, deal with the possible loss of their father.

First summarized in Dr. Grainger-Monsen and Julia Haslett's acclaimed cross-cultural healthcare film series Worlds Apart, the story of Mr. Kochi's dramatic race with death further unfolds in this haunting new documentary, which chronicles the frustrations that can arise between patients, families, and healthcare providers, and the sometimes life-threatening consequences of miscommunication.

After fleeing Afghanistan in 1979, Mohammad Kochi settled in California, to raise his family, but just as life seems to be getting easier, he is diagnosed with an aggressive, life-threatening cancer. When he rejects the recommended chemotherapy and instead embarks on a pilgrimage to Mecca, his doctor fears that family members, acting as interpreters, have misinformed Mr. Kochi about the gravity of his disease. But Mr. Kochi's daughter, Noorzia, blames a culturally insensitive healthcare system for her father's rapidly declining health.

Can this Muslim immigrant and his Western doctor find a common language in time to save his life? Through intimate moments of anguish and hope, Hold Your Breath illuminates the pivotal role of cross-cultural communication in healthcare decision-making, and the urgent need for cultural competence and diversity training in the healthcare professions.

"A lovely and moving meditation on the clash between religion, culture, and modern medicine." —Kahled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

"East meets West, religion meets medicine, tradition meets modernity. A powerful and unforgettable clinical story about the importance of communication and the challenges in providing patient-centered care to an increasingly diverse population. A must-see film for health professionals, administrators, and learners who wish to improve their cultural competence and positively transform our service delivery system." —Robert C. Like, MD, MS, UMDNJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

"An excellent job of depicting how one culturally diverse family copes with living in the United States. A vivid testimony of how our health care system can exacerbate the natural process of dying for culturally diverse citizens. Not only is there a great need for cultural competence among physicians, but also for others in the medical field." —Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, PhD, President-elect, Association for Multicultural Counseling & Development (AMCD)

"Highly Recommended. A perfect fit for library collections supporting programs in the health sciences, multicultural collections, Middle Eastern studies and social work collections." —Educational Media Reviews Online

Chicago International Documentary Festival
American Psychological Association
Wilbur Award, Religion Communicators Council
Plymouth Independent Film Festival
Quality Healthcare for Diverse Populations Conference
Islamic Medical Association of North America
American Society for Biothics and Humanities
Freddie Awards, Finalist
WORLDFEST, Silver Remi Award
  

58 minutes / color
Closed Captioned
Release: 2006
Copyright: 2005
Sale: $248

Study Guide Available in Adobe PDF Format

Subject areas:
Cancer / Oncology, Community & Public Health, Cross-Cultural Issues, Fanlight Collection, Health Care Issues, Healthcare History & Policy, Issues & Ethics

Related Links:
The Films of Maren Grainger-Monsen

Related Titles:
Rare: RARE follows an extraordinary mother in a race against time to find a treatment for her daughter's rare genetic disease.

Worlds Apart: A series on cross-cultural healthcare. Four films raise awareness about how cultural barriers affect patient-provider communication and other aspects of care for patients of diverse backgrounds.

Grave Words: Blends humor, music and insight in an entertaining primer for physicians and other healthcare providers who need to talk with patients about end-of-life decisions.

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