Clowning Around at the Children’s Hospital


The doctors in St. Louis aren’t sick; those red, puffy noses aren’t from a cold, but for their clown costumes. The St. Louis Children’s Hospital is taking a page out of Patch Adams and adding a bit of silliness to the rigors of pediatric care. For 16 years doctors have been volunteering to dress-up as clowns to entertain the kids and help them to take a break from the hospital atmosphere. The purpose is to relieve stress, and keep the kids calm when an actual doctor appears. They perform magic tricks, tell jokes, and play games to bring a little fun to an otherwise stressful situation.

Dr. Tickles (Jane Abendschein), and her husband, Professor Dude (Dana Abendschein), are a couple of the clowns that help out three days a week, pulling gags and having fun. Abendschein says, “The comment we frequently get from the parents is, ‘This is the first time my child has smiled today.’”

Studies show that laughter can decrease the need for pain medication and increase healing time. For kids, a good laugh is definitely the best medicine.

VIA: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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