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Patch Adams Visits Good Samaritan Hospital

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Patch Adams Visits Good Samaritan Hospital


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.”

Photo Caption:

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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