Clown Doctors in NYC

After reading this article I was both shocked and thrilled to see something like this happening in hospitals, especially New York! It is great that modern western medicine is incorporating non-traditional styles of healing to help their pediatric patients and family.

This article was all about “clown doctors” helping to heal young patients in hospitals around New York. These clown doctors are professional clowns who go around and perform tricks for scared children patients receiving treatments or comfort distressed parents in a time of need. These clowns hold a very high status of recognition in the hospitals, often receiving a 5 star rating from parents.

They boost the atmosphere in an exam room by doing magic tricks, pretending to be afraid of the children, and using common medical instruments as bubble blowers or noisemakers. These clowns are very hands on with patients, allowing them to play with toys or squirt their siblings with water guns. In waiting rooms, they entertain families with shows to pass the time and distract children before appointments. I also found it commendable that they visit every unit and even play jokes and pranks on doctors.

Although this is not the traditional way of healing illness and diseases, these clown doctors bring something else to the table. By following the folk sector the clown doctors follow a more holistic approach to healing. The clowns call treatment of the person as a whole, “social milieu”. While the regular doctors provide the biomedical treatment they can focus on the mental state of the patients, which should help them heal faster. One thing I love that the article stated was that children are not against other remedies. All they know is that they are scared and these magical doctors can take away that feeling, they are open to the idea of “magic” versus some adults who may view holistic medicine as “magic” but not magic that would work.



This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Paige Smith says:

    It is wonderful that such a non-traditional and holistic approach is being taken in hospitals in New York. While doctors are very important in determining the biomedical aspects of a patient’s disease, they can only do so much to help the mental aspect. When receiving treatment or medical advice, I think a lot of people forget how taxing treatment or disease can be on a patient’s mental state. Dealing with a usually terminal disease cancer takes a great emotional toll on patients and their families and it is easy to have negative thoughts or become depressed if the situation looks dire. By creating a positive environment that focuses on giving the patient hope and joy, the chances of healing or going in recession can increase. These clown doctors are somewhat similar to the Hmong Shamans. The people who undergo the Shaman’s rituals often believe that they will get better, and usually they do. The Shamans also take a holistic approach to healing and focus on the return of the patient’s soul to their body. While I’m sure the clown doctors do not have that exact philosophy, it seems as if they are focusing on the patients soul in a different way. They are feeding them hope and compassion and love while at the same time, giving them the courage they need to fight their condition. It is evident however, that while a holistic approach to medicine can be helpful, it is not the only way to cure disease. With a combination of medical practice that focuses on the biomedical aspects of affliction and an approach that focuses on the spiritual or emotional aspects, I believe that the people receiving treatment will have a better chance of healing. It is because of this that I think the clown doctors are legitimate and effective. Hopefully more methods such as these will be seen in hospitals throughout the United States.

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