Clowns are se­ri­ous medicine in Is­rael,

Modern Healthcare - - MODERN HEALTHCARE -

They may be a bunch of clowns, but they’re at­tract­ing some se­ri­ous at­ten­tion in Is­rael.

Dur­ing the past 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 will help dis­or­ders in­clud­ing pain and even 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 that sug­gest a clown’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in treat­ments can help pa­tients—es­pe­cially kids—en­dure painful pro­ce­dures and speed their heal­ing.

Is­rael’s hospi­tal clown­ing guild, Dream Doc­tors, founded 10 years ago, is the lead­ing ad­vo­cate for in­fus­ing more medicine into the artistry.

“It’s not just putting on a red nose, floppy shoes and play­ing a ukulele,” said Dr. Arthur Eidel­man, re­cently re­tired chief of pe­di­atrics at the Shaare Zedek Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Jerusalem, and chair of the Dream Doc­tors’ sci­en­tific com­mit­tee. “We see med­i­cal clowns as an in­te­gral part of the health­care team.”

One Is­raeli study, pub­lished last year in a lead­ing re­pro­duc­tive sci­ence jour­nal, Fer­til­ity and Steril­ity, sug­gested that a woman’s chances of get­ting preg­nant af­ter in vitro fer­til­iza­tion rose from 20.2% to 36.4% if a clown was brought in to en­ter­tain and re­lax her im­me­di­ately af­ter the ob­ste­tri­cian im­planted a fer­til­ized egg.

An­other study, con­ducted by the head of pe­di­atrics at a north­ern Is­raeli hospi­tal, found that if there was a clown in the room, chil­dren with uri­nary tract in­fec­tions didn’t need se­da­tion to keep still dur­ing an imag­ing scan. The clown would make a deal with a young pa­tient that both would sim­ply freeze dur­ing the scan.

About 25 Is­raeli med­i­cal cen­ters keep pro­fes­sional clowns on hand. One Is­raeli univer­sity of­fers what it calls the world’s first full-time de­gree pro­gram for med­i­cal clown­ing, part of an ef­fort to stan­dard­ize train­ing for the pro­fes­sion.

Fi­nally, a med­i­cal school that Out­liers has a fight­ing chance of get­ting into. Mom will be so proud.

For those des­per­ate to be in tune

Sound the alarm! Erin Gotz, a tun­ing fork healer in Dubuque, has re­ceived a cease-and-de­sist let­ter from the Iowa Board of Medicine.

The Des Moines Reg­is­ter re­ports that Gotz was warned last week by the state’s med­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment to stop us­ing tun­ing forks to di­ag­nose health con­di­tions. The let­ter cited by the news­pa­per says Gotz would “pre­scribe a high-dose vi­ta­min reg­i­men” fol­low­ing her acous­ti­cally de­duced con­clu­sions.

“The board has se­ri­ous con­cerns that the use of such high-dose vi­ta­mins may be toxic and could cause se­ri­ous harm to your clients,” the let­ter con­tin­ued.

And while you’re at it, knock off what­ever you’re do­ing with crys­tals, too, the med­i­cal board said.

How­ever, Out­liers can re­port that great deals on medico-acous­tic equip­ment are still to be had on­line even if your lo­cal sound-healer is driven out of busi­ness by the folks at the state med­i­cal board.

For ex­am­ple, the Tun­ing Fork Shop is of­fer­ing a steal on a seven chakra tun­ing fork set for only $110 for U.S. res­i­dents. (Rub­ber mal­let free with pur­chase!) But for those who pre­fer a more air­borne so­lu­tion, there’s the seven chakra wind chime set for $190. For a more ba­sic ap­proach, the DNA nu­cleo­tides chime set is only $115 and “care­fully con­structed to ac­ti­vate body chem­i­cals that are the very essence of life—cy­to­sine, thymine, ade­nine and gua­nine.”

That cer­tainly ac­ti­vates Out­liers’ own bovine ef­flu­ent de­tec­tor.

Quotable

“The rise of obe­sity around the world is coin­ci­dent with wide­spread an­tibi­otic use, and our stud­ies pro­vide an ex­per­i­men­tal link­age. It is pos­si­ble that early ex­po­sure to an­tibi­otics primes chil­dren for obe­sity later in life.”

—Pro­fes­sor Martin Blaser of New York Univer­sity in the Tele­graph on a study he led that found pos­si­ble links be­tween

overuse of an­tibi­otics in livestock and weight gain.

Dream Doc­tors med­i­cal clown Penny Hanuka, known as Dr. Fifi, speaks on the phone as she en­ter­tains Yael, a 2-year-old girl at the Meir Hospi­tal in Kfar Saba, cen­tral Is­rael.

GETTY IM­AGES

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