What Safety and Risk Could Learn from Patch Adams

What Safety and Risk Could Learn from Patch Adams

Last night I watched the movie Patch Adams starring the late, and amazingly talented, Robin Williams. The story for those who don’t know it is broadly based around the work and life of the real life medical doctor called Patch Adams. The real Patch is the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, an alternative style healthcare facility that describes itself as:

The Gesundheit Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit healthcare organization whose mission is to reframe and reclaim the concept of ‘hospital’. We are a model of holistic medical care based on the belief that the health of the individual cannot be separated from the health of the family, the community, the society and the world.

(Source – http://www.patchadams.org/gesundheit/)

While I don’t pretend to know a lot about Gesundheit beyond what I have read today on their website, if they go anywhere near practicing their mission, I suspect that they are making impacts on lives in a much more meaningful way than our traditional reductionist approach to healthcare.

If we subscribe to the theory that wellness, healthcare and medical systems should have as their focus physical and biological health, and subsequently pay little attention to psychological and spiritual health, we are lead to a path that sees patients (I’d prefer to call them people or more preferably by their name) as objects and parts of a system


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