Clown Doctors in NYC

I chose to reflect on “Clown Doctors in NYC.”  The article describes the day-to-day activities of the clown doctors and their similarities to shaman healers.  These “clown doctors” are clowns who come around the hospital in their clown costume with colorful doctors coats, and props that resemble a doctor’s tools.  The clown doctors interact with the child patients and their parents by joking with them and entertaining them.  These clowns put the children at ease and make it easier for the child to interact with their real doctor.

The clown doctors have less control than real doctors as they are directed by the doctors what rooms they can and can’t go into and when they can and cannot joke around.  They use techniques like blowing bubbles out of their stethoscopes and playing around with other hospital equipment to make the children less afraid of doctors and procedures.  The clown doctors also intentionally make their magic tricks backfire until the child shows them how to do it right, making the child feel empowered.  Making the clown doctors, real doctors, or nurses seem inept in front of the child patients make the people who feel the most out of control, the children, feel like they finally have some power.

These clown doctors operate in the western culture.  It is surprising that they would be operating so well in the western culture considering their similarities to shaman healers.  Healthcare is usually delivered in the western world through biomedicine, where if the problem can’t be found through science, then it doesn’t exist.  But the clown doctors work well alongside the western biomedicine, treating the social individual alongside the body.  Disease can cause many other things such as depression and stress, which the clown doctors can help to treat.  Not only do the clown doctors help the child patients to be at ease, they also help reduce the parents stress.  Since people are more than just a body, we should also be treating the social being by using approaches such as clown doctors alongside western biomedicine.

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