The message to health care workers in Arizona and around the world: remember compassion, humor and love.
That comes from Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams. He was in Phoenix this past weekend, getting doctors and nurses to clown around at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. They invaded the Arizona Center, showing people kindness and compassion, giving them hugs and handing out red nose stickers.
“Love really matters, humor really matters, joy really matters,” Adams said.
Adams was made famous in the 1998 movie “Patch Adams,” starring the late Robin Williams. The real-life Adams, who founded The Gesundheit! Institute, travels the world, bringing humor and joy to doctors, nurses, patients and those in need.
Over the weekend, Dr. Adams partnered with Dr. Carl Hammerschlag of Paradise Valley to teach doctors and nurses how they can use clowning in the practice of medicine. It was part of the inaugural Clown Town Healing Fest in Phoenix. Adams said if doctors develop a compassion and sense of humor when interacting with their patients, it can make all the difference.
“Let’s say you have five minutes to live,” Adams said. “Do you want to be frightened for those five minutes? How does it sound to be chuckling with friends. You die mid-chuckle.”
Adams said doctors need to do a better job connecting with their patients. They can do just that with humor and joy.