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Clown doctoring: more than just clowning around

Ann T Gregory

Figures

Abstract

A ward round of a different kind: doctors in white coats but with scooters and hooters instead of stethoscopes and ball-point pens. The Humour Foundation’s clown doctors visit children in hospital, bringing joy and laughter. But it’s more than just clowning around: humour has been shown to reduce pain, postoperative complication rates and time to discharge.

Article Extract

A nasogastric tube welded to his small face, the boy is too ill to move. A male nurse wheels him ever so carefully down a carpeted hospital corridor. The boy’s parents follow closely behind.

Two figures approach, dressed in long, white, badge-adorned coats, floppy hats and baggy, multicoloured pants. They speak to the boy by name. They’ve met him before.

‘Shall we play him a song?’, asks one clown of the other.

‘What a good idea’, the other agrees.

The strains of You are my Sunshine issue from kazoo and a miniature, semiautomatic violin. The boy’s eyes stare at – or is it through? – the clowns.

Figures