There’s a Heck of a Lot of Medicine in Fun

December 3, 2009 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

Robin Williams as Patch Adams

Who can forget Robin Williams’s performance as the brilliant, tender-hearted and wickedly funny Patch Adams in the 1998 movie of the same name? The movie is loosely based on the story of the real Patch Adams, a maverick medical student who reaches out to patients with love and a heaping dose of humour, bringing joy and release to sick people and their caregivers in a US hospital.

A recent picture of the real Patch Adams at work (and play)

Patch Adams is no one-hit wonder. Laughter truly is a medicine of sorts: studies show that humour in hospitals can reduce stress for patients, families and caregivers alike. It eases tension, increases cooperation and distracts patients from painful procedures. Best of all, it’s a real mood and morale booster for everyone. 

The benefits of laughter and goofiness are old news to BC Children’s Hospital, where two beloved clowns, Doc Willikers and Ms. Phizzio Fit – FrizzioTherapist, better known as “Fizzie,” have a long history of tickling patients’ funny bones and chasing away tears. These zany healers are specially trained to work in medical settings, cheering up young patients like Paige with music, magic tricks, crazy costumes, bubbles and face paint.

Interestingly, therapeutic clowns like Doc Willikers and Fizzie are usually professional entertainers, not physicians. Their antics may also help sick children to understand their feelings and come to terms with an illness, as this youtube clip from the tv program Healing Quest suggests.

Doc Willikers & Fizzie

If we’ve piqued your interest in our Hospital’s clown therapy program, we recommend that you take a moment to read Milton Kiang’s article in the Georgia Straight profiling our very own Doc Willikers, or Paul Hooson, as he’s called when he steps out of his oversize shoes. You’ll learn quite a bit about clown therapy, and you’ll find out what keeps this outstanding clown coming back year after year to deliver grins to sick kids like Paige.


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