Clown Doctors in NYC

The article I chose is “Clown Doctors: Shaman Healers of Western Medicine”. This article focuses on the Clown Care unit or “Clown Doctors” in New York City hospitals in the United States. The article tells the comparison between the western and non-western methods of healing in hospitals. The origin of clown doctors has been traced back to shamanism. Other cultures around the world have used some form of clown doctors to treat those after surgeries in need of an uplifting.

In this article, the Clown Doctors are the healers. Clown Doctors are not necessarily the real medical doctors we think of, but more so healers. However, even though they are not real doctors and cannot practice on patients, I believe that they still hold social status because of the job they do and the cause that it’s for. They start their day by getting into costumes that resembles a clown suit, and use various props like bells and puppets to promote natural healing through laughter. The article states, “Their activities include entertaining bored children and mothers in crowded out-patient clinic waiting rooms, distracting anxious families in inner-city emergency rooms, comforting parents of children in intensive care units, and distracting small AIDS or cancer patients during painful and frightening procedures. They spread joy and mayhem wherever children might be found in what is otherwise an environment not designed with children in mind”. (463)

Western medicine generally focuses on healing the body through the biomedical westernized healthcare system. The clowns use an alternative way of healing their patients; therefore, the sector I would say they belong to is the folk sector or the professional sector. The clowns work together as a team to use social healing, with the help of costumes and props, as a way to provide comfort for their patients. So as traditional doctors are more concerned with biomedical treatment , the clown doctors focus on the mental state of the patient.


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