Lessons from (the real) Patch Adams

by Christina on February 1, 2011

It’s been a busy few days… I flew back from California, spent a great couple of days home in Philadelphia, and arrived in New York today to spend the month interning for The Dr. Oz Show (very excited!).

Thanks to Luke Jordan (Philly’s awesome new visiting Ashtanga yoga teacher) for sending me this video by Dr. Patch Adams (the real doctor that the movie was based on) in a talk to the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation.

Patch Adams was trained as a family physician and has held onto his vision of providing a different kind of medical care:

Some highlights:

  • He spends hours with each patient. He visits them at home, observes their self-esteem and day-to-day vitality for life. He helps them be proactive in their own health.
  • “We can always promise care, we can never promise cure.”
  • Most Americans are lonely: “they don’t like themselves, they don’t like their marriage, they don’t like their job.” We all have a great need for intimacy and human love.
  • Medical students are hugely dissatisfied. There is not nearly enough time with patients and they cannot be the kind of doctor they dreamed of being.
  • Medical schools do not teach compassion, but “the practice of medicine IS the practice of compassion.”
  • Think about what your ideal medical practice is… and find a way to create that.

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