Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Balloons and kazoos in hand, Israeli clowns accompany surgeons into operating rooms

Penny Hanuka, or Dr. Fifi, a Dream Doctors medical clown, speaks on a phone
as she entertains Yael, a 2-year-old girl at the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, central Israel.
Photo by Ariel Schalit/Associated Press
Doctors in Israel are beginning to believe in the power of clowning around.

Over the last few years, Israeli clowns have been popping into hospital operating rooms and intensive care units with balloons and kazoos in hand, teaming up with doctors to develop laughter therapies they say help with disorders ranging from pain to infertility.

This is not how things are done in most of the world’s hospitals. Clowns often visit pediatric wards to cheer up young patients, but in most places the clowning ends where the medicine begins. When it comes time for a child to get a shot or go under the knife, the clowns step aside.

Israeli clowns thumb their shiny red noses at that approach. They quote studies which suggest that a clown’s participation in treatments can help patients — especially kids — endure painful procedures and speed their healing. -- Associated Press via Washington Post

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