Clown Doctors in NYC

I decided to write about “Clown Doctors: Shaman Healers of Western Medicine.” It is an article based on a clown care unit in pediatric New York City hospitals. There are groups of professional clowns, usually two or three, dressed up resembling doctors but with an over the top costume including make up someone would expect to see on a clown with tricks up their sleeves and in the bags they carry around. These clowns are not only meant to help put the patient at ease but also their family and friends waiting or visiting. Most doctors who work in these clown care units even say the clowns put them at ease. The doctors perform normal operations just with the help of clowns boosting the morale. Two of the clown’s main focuses is to lighten the mood of everyone they come into contact with and helping the patient feel like they are in control. Of course they know their limits and are instructed what rooms not to go in at certain times or what rooms they have to entertain through windows and cannot actually enter the room. Some acts they perform include singing, pulling scarves or coins from random objects, hiding puppets and squeezing marbles out of their noses. These techniques are usually successful with children because they still believe in magic and think that the tricks the clowns are playing are not tricks at all. The other main goal of the clown is to make young patients feel like they have equal power to the physician to prevent tantrums out of fear. Clowns do not actually cure anything they just improve the overall mood in the hospital. The only cures they may be able to have a big influence on are that of psychosomatic or anxiety illnesses. Clowns are used as distractions from what is actually happening. It might be to keep the patient’s mind off the pain they are experiencing or the families mind off of what their child or sibling is going through.

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