The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

by

Anne Fadiman

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Terry Hutchinson Character Analysis

A pediatric neurologist who works at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno. When Lia is in foster care, Dee Korda takes her to see Terry, who decides to prescribe her Depakene, a drug that proves effective against her epilepsy and that can be taken on its own, without a cocktail of other medications. This makes it easier for the Lees to administer the proper doses when Lia finally returns to them. Dr. Hutchinson is also the first person to diagnose Lia with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that includes cognitive delays and intense seizures. After Lia loses the majority of her brain functioning due to septic shock, Hutchinson tells Fadiman that, in many ways, the Lees were right to think that the medicines the doctors prescribed were actually detrimental to the girl’s health (since Depakene may have weakened Lia’s immune system and rendered her more susceptible to bacterial infections that led to septic shock.)
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Terry Hutchinson Character Timeline in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The timeline below shows where the character Terry Hutchinson appears in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Government Property
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
...proper amounts of medication. This task was made slightly easier by the fact that Terry Hutchinson—a doctor Dee had taken Lia to at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno—had decided to prescribe... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Big One
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
Blame and Power Theme Icon
...from her and give it to someone else.” Apparently the doctor was only following Dr. Hutchinson’s orders to “discontinue all life-sustaining measures so that Lia could die as naturally as possible”—a... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Eight Questions
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
Blame and Power Theme Icon
...effort to gain some clarity about the anticonvulsant medications prescribed to Lia, Fadiman visited Dr. Hutchinson at Valley Children’s Hospital. He explained that Lia’s final seizure was the result of the... (full context)
Cultural Values, Spirituality, and Medicine  Theme Icon
Fadiman repeated Hutchinson’s theory to Neil and Peggy, who pored through their notes before determining that it was... (full context)