New York, N.Y. – It’s not every day that medical students don clown noses and garish costumes to visit hospitalized children. But it’s not every day that the real Patch Adams comes to town. Adams, the social activist and physician made famous in a film starring Robin Williams, visited New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he delivered several lectures to medical students and faculty. Following his talk, he brought a group of medical students to the pediatric unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, where the group put their newfound clowning skills to practice.
As the 17 students spread out visiting patient rooms, squeals of laughter filled the hospital’s corridors. Meanwhile, an intense game of foosball between the medical students and patients generated triumphant shouts, transforming the normally sedate pediatric floor into a hub of fun and activity.
That was Adams’ goal. Espousing his philosophy that “love is the most important thing in life,” Adams encouraged the students to adopt a separate persona while in clown attire in order to connect with patients, family members and staff.
“There are times when laughter truly is good medicine,” said Catherine Caronia, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at Good Samaritan. “Our patients and staff were delighted by the visit, and we’re thrilled to know that a future generation of physicians has had the opportunity to learn first-hand the value of bringing joy and playfulness to medical encounters. In fact, we have invited the students to visit our patients again soon to continue to apply the lessons they learned.”
About Good Samaritan Hospital: Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds), voluntary, not-for-profit hospital located in West Islip. The medical center has more than 3,775 employees and 900 physicians on staff and had nearly 26,000 patient admissions and nearly 90,000 emergency department visits annually. Good Samaritan is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Visit the website at www.good-samaritan-hospital.org. The medical center supplies residents with the tools necessary to maintain good health. This includes community lectures, screenings, health fairs and other community programs and services.
Pictured Above: Catherine Caronia, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital (seated, lower left) and Kate Fenton, Director of the Child Life Program at Good Samaritan, (seated, lower right) welcomed the real Patch Adams (seated, center), medical students from NYCOM, and NYCOM’s David Broder, DO, Associate Dean, to the hospital for a special visit.
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