Patch Adams visit a reminder of the need to enjoy life

Friday , May 18, 2018 - 12:00 AM

It’s a proven fact that laughter is good for the soul. And no one knows that better than Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams.

The legendary Adams made the rounds through the area on Wednesday, stopping at Ogden Regional Medical Center to dispense some of his home-brewed, chuckle-filled prescriptions that he believes heal the body and the soul. Adams, a medical doctor, has adopted a system that advocates joy and creativity as part of the patient care process.

During his visit, our reporter described Adams as wearing big, floppy shoes and a red nose. He also had bluish hair and carried a rubber chicken. Adams visited with Syracuse man Kim Call, providing just the pick-me-up Call needed during a lengthy hospital stay.

“He has a way of healing through laughter,” Call said. “If you’re feeling bad, remember that happened in past. It’s a new day, move on.”

And it’s not just patients who benefit from Adams’ antics. “I loved it,” Nancy Call, Kim’s wife, said of the visit. “It’s what I needed to cheer me up as a caregiver to my husband. This has been hard on me, too.”

It’s been nearly 20 years since Adams’ life was portrayed on the Silver Screen by Robin Williams. He’s continued since then in his efforts to heal through laughter, and when combined with effective medical treatment, it’s a noble cause.

Adams’ visit this week came about through the efforts of Dr. Kurt Rifleman, with the Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden.

Rifleman, president of the Ogden Surgical-Medical Society, chose the theme for this year’s conference, which is taking place this week. That theme is “The Joy of Medicine,” which falls right in Adams’ wheelhouse.

As part of his patient visits, Adams required the doctors who accompanied him to have fun. That they did, as several let their hair down by showing up in bright colors and zany name tags. In the process, they also were reminded of just why they got into the medical field.

“… We forget about that as we get in the trenches,” Dr. Mark Housley of Midtown Community Health Center said of the joy of medicine. “So it’s nice to recharge our batteries and remember that the goal is caring for people.”

Doctors sometimes have the unenviable job of delivering bad news to their patients. It’s good for them to experience the healing power of laughter as well. We thank Rifleman for arranging the visit, and Adams for brightening the community’s day.

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