After watching the semi-autobiographic 1998 film “Patch Adams”, starring Robin Williams, the Pharmacy Technician class in Evansville was so moved they wrote to Patch Adams himself. The movie is based in part on the life of Dr. Hunter Doherty. Dr. Doherty is a proponent for compassion in healthcare, the movie viewed in class tells the story of his unconventional ways in treating patients during his early career.
Dr. Doherty (Patch Adams) currently heads the Gesundheit! Institute, according to the website www.patchadams.org “The Gesundheit! Institute is a project in holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world, and the health care system itself.”
Patch Adams was touched by the class reaching out to him, and in response sent a hand written letter including pictures of himself in costume with a patient taken at an oncology hospital in Moscow, as well as copies of two of his books; House Calls: How we can all heal the world one visit at a Time, and Gesundheit!: Bringing good health to you, the medical system, and society through physician services, complementary therapies, humor, and joy co-written with Maureen Mylander. He also included in his care package the film Clowin’ Kabul, which depicts his work in Afghanistan in march 2002 where he took 22 clowns from 6 continents and provided 6 tons of aid for 4 weeks.
In his response he offered to come and speak with the class, and invited them to attend an upcoming clown trip to Russia where there will be an “intensive in compassion delivery”.
The purpose, mission, and organization of the Gesundheit! Institute are outlined on the website, including the information provided below:
Our model is organized around these principles:
- Care is free.
- Patients are treated as friends.
- Ample time is given to the care interaction (e.g. initial interviews with patients are 3 hours long).
- All complementary medicine is welcomed.
- The health of the staff is as important as the health of the patients.
- Care is infused with fun and play
If you are interested in additional information about Patch Adams and/or Gesundheit! Institute, how to give, volunteer, and additional ways to help visit the website at www.patchadams.org.