Clown Doctors in NYC

This article is about a form of medical healing in Western medicine that goes further than just bio-medicine. The article is also about how “Clown Doctors” are similar to Shaman Healers. Clown Doctors are people who have extensive training in being clowns. No they aren’t actually certified medical doctors, but they work hard to help make patients feel better. Everyday these people go into a hospital in the pediatric ward. They dress in full costume such as a big red nose, lots of face makeup, and an over-sized white lab coat. They visit children of all ages and all conditions in the hospital. Their goal is to help distract the young patients from their condition and their pain. They play tricks on nurses or parents, crack jokes, and use special props to get a smile or a laugh out of not only the patients but the parents of the patients as well.

The article also relates how these clown doctors are similar to Shaman healers. Shaman healers usually wear face paint just as the clown doctors wear makeup. Shamans and clown use ventriloquism and puppets during their act. Shaman uses them to represent spirits while clowns use them to joke around. They both use magic or tricks, which represents how they are connected to spirits or another world. And both groups perform outside of cultural norms.

The sectors of the clown doctors and Shaman I would describe as belonging to the folk sector. They are an avenue between the popular and the professional sectors. They are healers that are sacred and they share cultural values of the society. They involve the family during either the clown’s skits, or the Shaman’s rituals. Shamans and clown doctors aren’t what many would think of as being traditional medicine. It is complementary medicine that goes along with the traditional medicine.

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  1. Vanessa Salmo says:

    Clown doctors compare to biomedical doctors because they care about the well being of the patient. They care to make sure that the patient is not suffering even though they focus on different aspects of this both sectors work hard to do this. Whereas physicians care about the vitals and the pain levels clown doctors care about the mental status and spiritual well being of patient, families, and staff. Together these sectors of medicine are able to establish a status of comfort. Although this is not the typical way to treat patients people do say that the best medicine is a laugh so I really do think that this is a great way to help children cope with their illnesses.

    My goal as a student is to go to medical school and become a pediatrician. I knew that there were programs like this but I never knew that they had clown doctors. I think that this is an amazing program and I want to have something like this at my future job because I truly believe that although they are not performing medical procedures they are helping patients recover or feel a little better. A major factor in healing and getting better when sick is the mindset that one has. If parents and the child are in a bad mood or negative about the outcome then it is likely that the outcome will be bad. However, when people have a positive and clear state of mind it is likely that they can accomplish more and be more strong willed.

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