Health Heroes

Dr. Patch Adams

by Nicholas from Orange County

Dr. Patch Adams in 2008 ( ())
Dr. Patch Adams in 2008 ( ())

When many people think of a hero, they imagine a brave warrior, risking their life to save others, but Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams is a perfectly humorous and helpful hero in the field of medicine. After all, he went through many tough times, like his father's death and even ending up in a mental hospital. Being a creative, funny, and outgoing person, he decided with all his experience in the medical field, he would recreate it, the way he though it should be. Patch paid his doctors in peanuts, let his patients perform plays, and was a social activist. Hunter even combined traditional medicine with "the best medicine", laughter!

Hunter's life experiences drove him to be a doctor and kind man. As a child, he grew up with crime, racism, and violence. This required him to live with a smile and stand up for what he believed in. Also, he was dumped in college by his girlfriend, which drove him almost to the point of suicide. His mother signed him into a mental hospital and he met many doctors that made him feel much more confident, and they also gave him the idea to become a doctor. Additionally, Dr. Adams' father was an alcoholic veteran who died when Patch was about ten. He then discovered making others laugh helped him feel more positive in troubling times. Dr. Adams, even with a rough life, decided to change the way care for the sick was given.

Dr. Patch Adams knew he did not like how the medical care was provided. Doctors were greedy, health insurance was annoying and confusing, and poor people could not afford treatment for diseases like cancer. Dr. Adams began a new man, even under an alias, "Patch". He created his own, new hospital, Gesundheit Institute, where doctors worked for peanuts, people's thanks was enough payment, and the long-term patients even performed in Shakespearean plays and concerts! Patch also believed that traditional medicine could be combined with comedy for healthier and happier patients. He eventually had to make Gesundheit a non-profit, but his amazing work continues today, as he "humanizes healthcare".

On the other hand, some thought his unusual ways had no place in a professional hospital. People believed his odd ways could not be scientifically proven. Many agreed he was not right in the head, and didn't take his job seriously. How could a man so foolishly laugh in the face of death and disease? Though some people may no agree with Patch's philosophy, many see him as a genius.

Dr. Patch Adams is an amazing role model and a wonderful man. He is truly inspiring and still dreams of expanding his non-profit organization. More people should definitely hear his amazing story. He deserves his spot among the great figures of modern history. Even after seventy years, Patch and his iconic mustache are still spreading smiles, saving lives, and just plain clowning around.

Page created on 10/29/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/29/2013 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Gesundheit Institute - The official autobiography of Dr. Adams
CNN Interveiw - A 1999 interview with the real Patch Adams
Los Angeles Times - An article about the life of Dr. Hunter