W3: Clown Doctors in New York City

I chose to reflect on the article Clown Doctors: Shaman Healers of Western Medicine, which talks about the primary role is of a clown doctor in New York City who work in different pediatric hospital units. In this particular article, the healers are the clown doctors. These clown doctors are not considered to be licensed physicians, however they generally work in teams and help give advice to the phyisicans that provide the actual healthcare. The clown doctors look very similar to actual doctors because they wear a costume that consists of a white coat. These clown doctors may appear to be a normal physician to a patient in the hospital, but their role is very unique. They will do random acts and performances in the hospital such as singing soft lullabies, blowing bubbles, and even telling jokes to teenage patients. Upon entering a patient’s room, they check with other staff members in the hospital to make sure that the patient’s room is not off-limits and if the patient does not have a positive reaction to the clown doctors performance, they will move onto the next room. The primary role of these clown doctors is to try and distract the patient as much as possible as they are going through a difficult time in the hospital. This allows the patient to feel removed from the situation and can provide them with a sense of comfort. One of the clown doctors told a story of a time where they distracting a young and distraught patient by doing magic tricks, blowing bubbles, and dancing in the patient’s room to make them feel more comfortable.

The system/sector that clown doctors operate in is the folk sector. These “doctors” are not providing any actual direct-patient care, however they take into account the patient’s entire family and situation in a holistic view. The main purpose of these clown doctors is to help the individual feel more comfortable around someone in a white coat and helps them feel like they can relate to them more. The clown doctors make their decision on how to go about performing their job as soon as they enter the room by understanding the gravity of the patient’s situation, and doing their job in whichever way is most suitable for the patient and their family.

One thought on “W3: Clown Doctors in New York City

  1. Your reflection on clown doctors in New York City has shed some light on the importance of holistic treatments in western medicine. When dealing with children specifically, it is very difficult to make a diagnosis or treatment when the patient is not comfortable being around a doctor. The clown doctors in New York City only pretend to be physicians while putting on an act to cheer up the patient. I have witnessed several legitimate pediatricians use similar tactics in a professional setting to calm down a patient. What most people don’t realize is that the child is only half the battle. If a parent is anxious or scared, then the child will most likely have a similar reaction. The clown doctors help to ease the minds of both the child and parent to make the job easier for the actual physician. Although these healers may not seem to be legitimate, their work is reasonably effective. Each child will have a different reaction to a joke or magic trick. The clown doctors know how to read a patient and put on the appropriate act. They are able to transform a hospital from a scary place to an easy going environment for healing.

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