The Case of a 20-Month-Old Boy

Case Study – The Case of a 20-Month-Old Boy

A 20-month-old Puerto Rican boy was admitted to the inpatient unit for failure to thrive associated with a decrease in appetite. The mother suspects it is empacho, a folk illness that has been described in various Latino ethnic groups, including Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Central Americans, and described as a condition wherein food or other matter gets stuck to the walls of the stomach or intestines, causing an obstruction.

Assumptions are important in ethical analysis. If you do not believe there is such an illness as empacho, how do you relate to the parents of this child?