Clown doctors-NYC

The article I am reflecting on discusses doctors that dress up as clowns to entertain patients. These clown doctors are known to be from the CCU or clown care unit located in pediatrics of a New York hospital. It is discussed in this article how many other cultures practice this same healing by laughter and entertainment. Other cultures describe these people as shamans who come dressed up to sing and entertain while they heal patients spiritually. The article focuses on a day in the life of one of these clowns. It describes how these clowns deliver the smiles and laughter needed to distract patients from the reality of their circumstances. The clowns not only try to entertain patients but also families who have been there for hours on end. It is a well thought distraction to lift spirits and spread laughter amongst the unit.

The healers are actual medical doctors dressed up as clowns to entertain the patients. They will use many props such as bubbles and rubber noses. Many humorous techniques are used to uplift the patient’s spirits and focus their minds on something better for a while. The clowns or doctors use one technique of slapstick comedy to interact with the patients. They try to get involved with the patient by allowing them to watch the clown mess up multiple times on a simple task. Being doctors, these clowns are most likely from the upper class. It is important that these doctors take the time to see things from the perspective of the patient and show sympathy for their wellbeing/happiness instead of just their physical health. I believe this technique also helps the patient to be more relaxed and less stressed.

These clowns are interacting in the hospitals of the United States. Healthcare is different amongst every patient depending on his or her particular insurance. Not every citizen may have insurance and may be expected to pay their hospital bill in full. The body and symptoms are treated in more of a holistic way. The patients are put in a better mood to distract them into feeling better even if they are not physically cured. It is important for the patients to have an escape from the stressful environment of the hospital and the doctors deliver this escape for them by delivering humorous entertainment. Laughter is often thought of as the best cure.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rei Gjeci says:

    It is my first time being exposed to the topic of “clown doctors” and I was not aware of the fact that such a method existed in hospitals in the U.S. I agree with alternative ways of healing and have learned a little bit about Eastern medicine in previous anthropology courses I have taken. I wrote about Shamans among the Hmong community and I truly believe their ways of healing are affective among their society. I find it very interesting that there are doctors who dress up and entertain people. It seems like a credible way to keep patients relaxed and stress free. I do not know if it would be a legitimate way to heal a disease but it could heal an illness. Since we defined in this course an illness is someone’s personal experience, by making it more enjoyable, an individual might be healed of anxiety or stress that does not need to lead to a serious condition. I do agree with you that laughter is sometimes the best cure and in many cases it can be. Even if the disease is not healed, the symptoms an individual is facing might be improved by being in a warm and happy environment where they can feel welcome.

  2. Meghan Kinter says:

    I love this idea of “Clown Doctors”. When comparing them to biomedical doctors they have the same education and licensing as any other doctor they are just incorporating a new approach to how they deliver their services. Doctors often times are described as cold and intimidating, this can create stress and anxiety for some patients especially those diagnosed with a serious or degenerative condition. With clown doctors they eliminate the intimidation factor with an exact opposite approach; lifting the spirits by much needed laughter. I truly believe that someones spirit and attitude has a lot to do with how well they can overcome an illness. Stress and anxiety have a lot of negative effects on the body, such as hypertension. Someone suffering from a serious ailment would not need anymore health issues, therefore by elimating or minimizing the stress and anxiety even if it is just for a couple of hours through the use of clown doctors would be beneficial to ones health. Because clown doctors would be beneficial to ones health I believe they are most definitely a credible and legitimate healers, and that other doctors should come up with similar ways to lighten the spirits of their patients.

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