Patch Adams has been perceived for his work as a clown and a medical doctor. He is also a devoted social activist who fought for changing America’s healthcare system (Carman, 2012). In his work, he says that he is ashamed of the American healthcare system in that it is money- but not care-oriented. Patch Adams believes that joy, creativity, and laughter are very important in the healing process. He is the physician who never made any penny from medicine and openly rebelled against the tyranny of market capitalism.
In my own opinion, Patch Adams is a leader in healthcare ethics. This is because he advocates for communal living in order to increase human interaction and friendship and reduce medical healthcare costs. He did this by starting a commune in 1971. He once said that“If we do not do away with market capitalism, we reliable to becoming extinct in this century” (Carman, 2012). This clearly shows how he was determined to bring changes to the United States’ healthcare system. Some of the important ethical issues which he advocated for are the changes in the way doctors treated and looked at their patients. He understands that interacting with the patient at a personal level helps the patient get well (Carman, 2012). He established the Gesundheit free clinic that avoids third party re-imbursement. In his clinic, the care is provided according to the principles of friendship and compassion. The well-being of the patients and the staff is equally important in his clinic. Thus his business is not money-oriented but customer care-oriented which is evident when he openly criticizes the “tyranny of market capitalism” (Carman, 2012).
Patch Adams once held a patient for twelve hours in order to calm him and treat him only with compassion and not drugs (Carman, 2012). He also says that he has never disliked a patient or given psychiatrist medicine or diagnosis to such patients. This is because he believed that depression was not an illness but a pharmaceutical company diagnosis. There are several ethical lessons we can learn from Patch Adams. Firstly, listening is vital for the understanding of the patient. Secondly, the patient’s positive attitude helps in the healing process; lastly, respect for death is better than considering death as an enemy.
Gesundheit clinic will embrace the patients’ welfare as our primary professional responsibility. It will also respect the rights and protect interests of our patients while in our custody (Hugh Halter, 2008). Patient’s privacy will be highly respected in accordance with the demands of law (Ebert, 2013). The clinic will further support communal efforts to improve public safety and health and cooperate well with others towards providing high quality services for our patients.