Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Gesundheit! Institute

I just finished watching "Patch Adams", the 1998 movie starring Robin Williams as Hunter "Patch" Adams, the controversial humanitarian who was very nearly denied his PhD in medicine due in part, according to the movie version of his story, to being "excessively happy".

The official review of this film, as it appears in my TV Guide, includes the word "cloying". Say that word slowly. Let it rattle around in your mouth for a while. Move it around with your tongue. Doesn't it almost make you want to spit it out? Nasty, disgusting stuff. The reviewer didn't think much of the movie, obviously, even though "an over-the-top Robin Williams" (the reviewer's phrase) did his very best to make Dr. Adams' story believable and palatable.

I could hardly disagree more. I am not the world's biggest Robin Williams fan, but he was the perfect choice to portray Patch, a firm believer in holistic medicine and healing through laughter. Through his portrayal, I came to know Patch Adams as a deeply compassionate man who wanted to improve patients' quality of life.

Here is what the real Patch Adams looks like, by the way ... ...

Is that one of the world's more colorful mustaches, or what??

The trailer at the end of the film described how Patch had provided free medical care to more than 12,000 patients, and went on to tell how plans were in the works to build a 40-bed facility on land that had been purchased in West Virginia.

I was a little distressed to learn a few moments ago, in doing research for this post, that the monies needed to build such a facility still have not been procured. That makes me sad.

If you would like to read more about Patch Adams' personal philosophy and the Gesundheit! Institute, go here. He even has his own blog site.


Craig Peihopa said...

Wonderful film, Wonderful man and wonderful post. I saw the real Patch Adams in OZ one time a few years ago. What an inspiration. Certainly Robin Williams did add his own flavour to the role, but from what I saw, he did not not over dramatise the role at all. The real guy is hilarious.

Goldenrod said...

Oh, how very special that you got to see the real Patch Adams in person, Craig. I'm glad you agree with me about the film.

Tammy said...

If I'm remembering correctly, the movie kinda bombed here in the US, didn't it? (I wonder if it was because it was more of a drama, and Robin Williams usually doesn't do dramas??) I really enjoyed the movie, though, - the story - and thought Robin Williams did a fine, fine portrayal of Patch Adams.