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What do you think of Patch Adams?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by instigata, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. instigata

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    Hey all,

    I watched Patch Adams again and I was really impressed about his methods so I checked up on the clinic he created (Gesundheit Institute). I think this guy is incredible, especially with his new approach to medicine. If you want to check out what he has done, check out his site at http://www.patchadams.org/home.htm.
     
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  3. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    One of the five worst movies I've ever seen. It's shame, because, like you said, the guy did a lot of great things.
     
  4. Vvandenn

    Vvandenn Member
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    I loved that movie.
     
  5. 8744

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    If I tried to mix my political ideology with my medical practice you'd get all self-righteous on me and opine on the need to keep politics, religion, and personal feelings separate from medicine.

    Patch Adams, the movie, is far removed from the reality of medicine and the medical profession. Watch it after you finish medical school and see how your outlook changes.
     
  6. 8744

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    "All over the world, Patch shares his powerful message on the importance of caring — it's magic. A change agent for peace, love and justice..."

    What a motard.
     
  7. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    I don't know, but there is something about him that I don't feel comfortable with, that I can't put my finger on. I don't know if it is because his ideas are so different (look at that website) or what.
     
  8. instigata

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    maybe its his moustache :laugh:
     
  9. 8744

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    Nothing complicated about it. You just know instictively that most patients don't want a guy in a clown suit treating them and that laughter is not the best medicine. I have a reputation for being a very funny guy but it's only because I have both good timing and an understanding of when humor is appropriate.

    The other problem with Dr. Adams is that he is a self-righteous prick who thinks he's the only one who has compassion for patients.

    Also, peace and justice have nothing to do with medicine.
     
  10. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Maybe its that I'm frightened of clowns.
    Maybe its because I think that having NO malpractice insurance at all is a really stupid idea...I mean, you may have the best intentions but one bad egg could bring that whole thing down.
     
  11. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Yes. When you have a serious medical condition, you want your doctor to be serious about it, and to feel like that person is doing everything they can. I wouldn't want to be treated like "No big deal, ahahah, go hang out with this clown."

    Also there is a statement from him which has the word "intimacy" in it like 5 times. I don't know. Something about that guy just gives me the heebie jeebies. I think you can care about patients without having an agenda.
     
  12. Learfan

    Learfan Machine Gunner
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    After reading the website I concluded that he was a left over hippie full of idealism. In other words, a failure who has achieved nothing other than self promotion. After 31 years, he still has not built a thing that functions. Stick to regular doctoring if you actually want to help a patient.
     
  13. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    I saw Patch Adams speak in college a few years ago, and while he's certainly done some amazing things, he also had some pretty unexpected ideas that I think caught a lot of people off guard, and they didn't go over especially well in the crowd that was at the lecture.

    I do not want to take anything away from Patch Adams, his accomplishments, or the lecture. I thought it was a great talk, and while I didn't agree with everything he said, it definitely got everyone thinking. His career speaks for itself. He is clearly a compassionate and intelligent doctor who has come up with very creative ways of helping his patients and make an incredible difference in the world.

    Most specifically I remember him arguing that mental health issues were fake. He said at one point that being mentally ill is one of the most "selfish choices" a person can make. When people brought this up during the question and answer session afterwards, arguing that mental health issues do have biological causes, people don't choose to be sick, these people need to be helped and not told how selfish they are etc, his reponse was, sure, when you break it down we're all really just 'bags of chemicals in solution,' but still, he considered the act of being mentally ill as an apparently active choice that entailed shirking one's responsibilities to self, to family, to humanity, etc.

    There are all kinds of ideas out there about mental health and illness, and I suppose that whether or not that opinion is valid is up to each individual to decide.

    It seemed, however, that for someone so skilled at thinking outside of the box, this was a surprising return to some very old-school opinions, and, depending on your viewpoint, not necessarily old-school in the good way. Many people have fought long and hard to break the stigma of mental health as a joke and mental health patients as weak or immoral or inferior, to convince people that it is an illness that should be treated with as much compassion as any somatic disease, and that it is treatable and is worthy of treatment. Many of us at the lecture felt it was disheartening to hear a doctor who has done so much good and helped the health of so many people around the world have this opinion about such a widespread and debilitating problem.
     
  14. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Something else--I don't understand how this "clowning prescription" is any different then some of the volunteer programs that are run at a lot of big hospitals.
    At a major hospital in Chicago, we have bingo, clowns, theme nights, hand/foot messages, etc. They even have a "recreational therapist" and an "art therapist" on staff along with the regular groups of chaplains and social workers.
    Now I understand that not all hospitals have these services, but all of the "fun and games" kind of stuff can be run through a volunteer department (with approval from doctors of course).
     
  15. Bubblehead-to-MD

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    For what it's worth, I like Robin Williams...he made me like Patch Adams in the movie!
     
  16. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    Are you referring to Children's Memorial? I think the philosophy is a bit different from Patch Adams'.

    They use the volunteers to play with the patients, either at their bedside or in special "medical-free" play areas. The thought process is is that children who are in a hospital, especially for an extended period of time, lose the esseential nurturing and socializing they get as children. The volunteers and child life specialists make up for this. The doctors and nurses, on the other hand, are serious about their medical care and depend on the volunteers to do the playing.
     
  17. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    First two points are fair enough. I happen to disagree with the last.
     
  18. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Right. I know that it is different from Patch Adam's, but I think that Children's takes into account the good parts of that sort of philosophy. I agree that inpatients, especially children--need extra attention--but that sort of thing can be handled by volunteers and specialists. Doctors aren't the only part of the care team.
     
  19. WildTumor

    WildTumor Senior Member
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    Loved it!!

    Watched it with my parents. My mom couldn't stop laughing as she imagined my father (a physician) as Patch.
     
  20. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    haha, I'm sure that pathologists regularly think of themselves as champions of peace and justice :laugh:
     
  21. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    Definitely agree, and I know that Children's takes special care that the doctors and nurses do not get involved with the playing. One component of Patch's philosophy that I strongly disagree with is the idea that a doctor can clown around one minute and performing an invasive or painful procedure the next. This can be counterproductive, because it would make the child afraid of the doctor.
     
  22. 8744

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    That's because the definitions of "peace" and "justice" are so fluid that they can mean anything to anybody. I'm for peace and justice myself, I just happen to thnk that the best way to achieve peace is to kill the enemy and the best way to achieve justice is to punish criminals, none of which activities have much of anything to do with how I practice medicine.

    But I bet that's not how ol' Patch looks at things.
     
  23. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Great point. It is confusing to everyone, not just children. The idea of boundaries helps. Volunteers and specialists, chaplains and social workers, are non-medical staff. Not there to poke a patient or ask any more medical questions, just there to be a distraction and maybe get a smile.
     
  24. 8744

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    Besides, I don't know where you all have been but clowns are creepy. I mean really creepy. I'm sure there are perfectly nice people who like to wear clown costumes but my gut feeling is that there is something odd about a grown man who wants to dress up to get close to kids. I certainly wouldn't trust a clown or any carnival worker within 100 feet of my chidren.

    All of my children dislike clowns and my six-year-old daughter used to cry hysterically whenever one drew near. I once had to threaten a clown who refused to back away from her. I'm sure he meant no harm but he was grimly determined to spread some peace and justice to the children of the world even if he scared the bejesus out of 'em.
     
  25. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    Yes, boundaries are necessary. As an example, just last week I was playing with a patient in a playroom. A nurse came in and wanted to give the patient his meds. A staff member made the nurse take the patient out in the hallway to do it.
     
  26. 8744

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    And I betcha' ol' Patch hasn't kept up with advances in medical knowledge and is still practicing with a 1970s knowledge base.
     
  27. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    My favorite scary clown example is how John Wayne Gacy used to serve as a clown in his community. Oh, hell, no.

    Something fun is when you have the (normally dressed) people who make balloon animals (or just plain balloons!) for the kids. They really like that. I've seen other patients get really excited about getting balloons. But they get delivered by plain-clothes volunteer-smock kinda people. Maybe we look boring but we're definitely not threatening.
     
  28. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    The movie Patch aka Robin Williams is much much nicer. The real life Patch Adams is a complete cocky prick.......and that is the nicer term I can think of. He gave a speech at my national youth leadership forum thing and it basically consisted of him talking about how great he was and how every other doctor is a complete piece of crap compared to his greatness. He also talked about how he read something ridiculous book wise....I remembered working it out and being (at the time) around 2 books a day for 30 years...he also made a point to say that each book was over 200 pages and that he could cite nearly ever poem he read from memory. Is his concept nice and pretty? Sure....doesn't keep him from being a douche though. It seems I share the same opinion of Patch with Panda. :p
     
  29. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    and I am sure that I do not plan on entering pathology.

    Cmon now, I'm not an idiot. I know all specialties are different, and I think you know I didn't mean all doctors in every specialty everywhere are Lifelong Crusaders for Good.

    But I think there is room for primary care docs in an inner city or the rural areas to think about health care justice, and I think there is room for all docs in India, Pakistan, northern Spain, just about all of sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, Nepal, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Israel to think about peace.

    (list of current wars not complete, feel free to add)
     
  30. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    There is absolutely no reason to think he's any more or less up to date or out of touch than any other doctor who graduated in the 1970s.
     
  31. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    There seems to be a spectrum of physician personalities. At one end there is the stereotypically cold-hearted, just-the-facts-ma'am, no interest/knowledge of anything not learned in med school type. At the other end there's Patch Adams.

    I think the best physician, or at least the one I aspire to be, probably lies somewhere in between.
     
  32. Bubblehead-to-MD

    Bubblehead-to-MD Emergency Blow!
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    :thumbup:
     
  33. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    Agreed...I think it's often true that the middle is usually more right than either side. I am not crazy about fanatics, even when they're on my side.

    That said, I think peoples' opinions of Dr. Adams and this kind of thing come down to a pretty simple choice that in a lot of ways defines people and their lives.

    Is it worse to be nothing but a dreamer or nothing but a critic?
     
  34. BuckerPark

    BuckerPark Float on...
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    This was way out in left field. Am I taking this out of context, or do you really think medicine has nothing to do with peace and/or justice?
     
  35. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    Ever had a serious medical condition? Just wondering.
     
  36. HelenaP

    HelenaP Senior Member
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    I saw that speech too! All I remember is that he ranted for a while about how much he hates Robin Williams for being a greedy bastard and ruining his life, and then he sold god knows how many crappy overpriced books to the crowd afterwards. Real Patch and Williams Patch are both totally obnoxious. But they apparently can't stand each other either :laugh:
     
  37. zach1201

    zach1201 Senior Member
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    Robin Williams is a hairy animal.

    [​IMG]
     
  38. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Yes. I have. And I have been hospitalized before, too. I appreciated how the doctors cared for me, talking to me in a respectful, serious, yet compassionate way. I appreciated the volunteers that came to visit me, the nurses that made sure I was doing okay and checked up on me, the whole thing.

    Of course, this doesn't make me an expert on how things should go in a hospital, but I know what would make me uncomfortable.
     
  39. Oculus Sinistra

    Oculus Sinistra Finish it.
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    Really... why did he say Robin Williams was "a greedy bastard"? I thought the real-life Patch approved of the film.

    I also didn't know that the real life Patch was so adamantly self-absorbed. But I'm not that surprised... most people who think they are leaders in their field -- or at least their ideology -- are self-absorbed.
     
  40. 8744

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    I suspect that your idea of peace and justice are vastly different from mine. I've got no problem with this, of course, because it's a free country and you can believe anything you want. Still, as has been pointed out, you can treat patients without having an agenda.

    Peace is the absence of war or the threat of war and I don't see what this has to do with being a doctor. I'm fairly pro-war myself believing as I do that the only way to maintain peace is through miltary power. What this has to do with treatment decisions I don't know. Why it would matter if you believed the opposite I don't know either.

    I'm all for justice as well but I suspect that what I mean by justice (the consistent and swift retribution of the law for criminal behavior) isn't what you mean by it, at least if you mean by justice that we should give our time and services away for free in the form of free health care, free food, free housing, and free everything all the time.

    I understand that many medical students have ideological axes to grind but the hospital and the clinic are not the places.
     
  41. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    I am having trouble understanding why the connection is not clear.

    Doctors promote health.

    Whatever you feel about Patch Adams and health care justice is fine, but this, at the very least, seems quite clear. Physicians' role in promoting health isn't some warm and fuzzy peace and love hippie mumbo jumbo. It's at the core of what a physician is. Maintaining and promoting health is what a physician does, and if you are not doing this, then you are not a good physician. And THAT, quantum mechanic, I believe is true whether you are a pediatrician, a pathologist, or a diagnostic radiologist.

    War's products are injury, disease, and death. HOW do you not see a connection with medicine?
     
  42. 8744

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    Wars also prevent future injury, disease, and death and often have the beneficial effect of killing people who need to be killed. Maybe a short, easy war against the nazis in 1938 would have spared us a big, difficult war in 1939. Who knows? Still, it is easy to be anti-war because the you will never be held accountable for the consequences of not going to war, consequences which are admittadly difficult to quantify but certainly very real.

    I also completely agree that we should promote good health to our patients but what this has to do with supporting the miltary policy of your nation (or not supporting it) eludes me. You can get a warm fuzzy contmplating a 2000 pound JDAM blowing up a viper's nest of terrorists and still provide good care to your patients. You can also treat enemy battlefield casualties and still believe in war.

    We are not priests of some peace-cult.
     
  43. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    Panda,
    When are you going to update the website? I miss it. I can't keep reading your old posts over and over! :)

    Jackie
     
  44. 8744

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    I am working on the next article as we speak. I appreciate your patience and your taking the time to read my humble blog.
     
  45. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    I have really enjoyed reading the articles in it--it correlates with what I have heard from friends who are in school/are residents/are attendings. The no-bs approach is good. :)
     
  46. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    You didn't happen to do the program at UC-Berkley? lol in like 2001 or so did you?
     
  47. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    It was something along the lines of not catching the true spirit or something........They should've followed the ideas of his own movie "The Noodle Bath" or something like that....it has been around 6 years since I heard the name so that might be wrong.
     
  48. HelenaP

    HelenaP Senior Member
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    In his view, Williams had made a boatload of money off him with the movie and didn't share. And then too many people found out about the free clinic and they had to close it (or make it not free anymore, or something). So basically he held Robin Williams personally responsible for killing the free clinic for his own profit. The only sensible response on poor Patch's part was of course to write books and go on the lecture circuit to profit off his sudden fame. :rolleyes:
     
  49. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I disagree with much of Panda Bear's politics, as I'm unabashedly liberal, but I am completely with him on this one. The practice of medicine is just that: medicine. The biggest challenges to medicine are when politics intrudes.

    My personal philosophy is that things work best when politics is kept out of the bedroom, the boardroom, and the operating room.
     
  50. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***
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    :thumbup: Me too. I was raised in a very conservative, Republican home, so Panda Bear has a lot of views that sound just like my dad. Pulls at the old heart strings. In real life, I am strangely conservative on some things and very liberal on others.
     
  51. HelenaP

    HelenaP Senior Member
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    Yep, I was there. The only part I remember clearly is the day we shadowed doctors. I got to shadow surgeons and it was ridiculously awesome, especially for a high-schooler. I even got to scrub in and stand with my hands resting on the patient's thigh during an exploratory abdominal surgery. I remember thinking, "dude, he totally just took that woman's intestines out with his hand! And he's holding them right in my face! And she's still using those intestines! But he's holding them right in my face! This is the greatest day of my entire life!"
     

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