Clown Doctors (CCU) in NYC

There is group of professional clowns that works in pediatrics in a hospital in New York it is called the Clown Care Unit. This was compared to the Shamans who originally came up with it. It is considered to be either complementary or non- western medicine. When someone is sick they are often in a sad mood so this impacts their ability to get better. In traditional Western medical treatment involves only treating a patient’s illness, while non-Western medicine takes the individual’s life into perspective by using their illness, culture and reality into a overall view to make them feel safe to that they can have a overall better environment to get healthier.
So, the Clown Doctors cause the children in the pediatric to feel better about their sickness and provoke positive thoughts to them and their families. So on a regular day these Doctors use props such as dressing up in Clown clothes with a red nose, white lab coat, and a stethoscope that blows out bubbles, etc. During their visitation with the child they would do something to make them laugh. Many families enjoyed the experience, it made them feel better about their child being in a good hands and a fun environment rather than the “normal” standards of many hospitals. This is also an example of Ojibway Windigokan and Plains Cree Wetigokan they dressed in worn out costumes they would dance and sing to heal people.
The healers are the Clown Doctors and the staff at the hospital who are all certified. They used comedy called Slapstick to entertain but mostly help the children who are patients. Their social status doesn’t affect anything to do with their jobs, they are Doctors so they are considered upper–class however, they are humble in character. By them dressing up in costumes it makes the family feel better about their child possibly seeing several Doctors at a time. The culture is not different from the American standard hospital just in a different state. However, healthcare is not affordable to everyone and is not given equally to everyone unless the person is able to afford the services that they are receiving. They patients are treated using biophysically that is how symptoms are making the person feel and how it is affecting their body. Using the methods of the Clown Doctors, this causes the family and the patient to feel hopeful, and more positive about the situation. This allows them to escape the pain for at least a moment through laughter. As a result of this, they are being treated emotionally, mentally and physically.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kelly Cummins says:

    The clown doctors described in this article take a very different approach to medicine than a biomedical doctor. Instead of taking a scientific approach using tests and medicine to treat patients, they try to improve the emotions of the patients, which will hopefully, positively affect their overall health. Their treatment also doesn’t vary from patient to patient and its not specific to the disease they are faced with like a biomedical doctors healthcare would be. The purpose of the two doctors are very different but they are also targeting very separate problems that a child or parent in this hospital is faced with. The clowns not only cheer up the patients but they cheer up the families of the patients, which could even positively affect the child’s environment.

    I think that these healers are very effective and I would even call them legitimate in a sense. Their role in the hospital is to remove the fear from the patient and comfort them through the healing process. They are not there to diagnose and treat the patient for the disease as the biomedical doctor but they are very effective in their role. Although they will not cure patients, I think they play an important role in our health system.

  2. christopher reed says:

    Clown doctors probably fall into the folk sector of healthcare, whereas medical doctors would obviously be categorized in the professional sector. The purpose they serve is a noble one. The hospital can be a scary place for anyone, much less a child facing a seemingly insurmountable health issue. The psychic comfort given by clown doctors (and other means) certainly has its place in healthcare. However, we live in an society where healthcare is a commodity, and cost efficacy determines what is or isn’t legitimate.
    From the article we read, it can hardly be argued that clown doctors are not effective. Some of the interviewees recounted making children laugh “while staring death in the face.” It also seemed like most were volunteers and that they worked for charity. It would be hard to imagine that a hospital would pay for these workers, though. It seems to me that the clown is somewhat of an antiquity and probably would have freaked me out more as a child. I doubt that this would ever be considered a mainstream therapy to be covered by insurance providers, either. However, there is something to be said for the comforts described in the article. I think this type of therapy would be a good investment if it were something more culturally relevant than a clown.

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