Hospitals in Buenos Aires Are Getting Their Own ‘Patch Adams’ Clowns

Payasos sin fronteras - 14  Gala Anual de Payasos sin Fronteras. 7 de Enero de 2008 foto tomada de la cuenta en Flickr de Imagen en Acción bajo licencia Creative Commons.

Annual Gala for Clowns without Borders. Photo by Mario Ximenez de Embun taken from the Flickr account of Imagen en Acción licensed under Creative Commons.

The Buenos Aires senate recently approved legislation mandating the use of clowns in hospitals treating children recovering from trauma. The clowns will play games and entertain the children.

Healthy laughter—now it's mandatory in Buenos Aires, in Argentina's hospitals

“Expect to see clown-specialists or hospital-clowns with each pediatric therapy visit,” said deputy Darío Golía, who was inspired by the work of the American physician Hunter “Patch” Adams, whose “laughter therapy” was depicted in a 1998 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams.

The legislation states that “hospitals will employ as clowns people who specialize in the art of clownery, who meet the conditions and requirements of working in public hospitals.”

Excellent! By the law, public hospitals will have “hospital clowns”

Health is also cured by the heart.

Prior to the law, there were other initiatives that made use of games and humor that helped patients and families overcome traumatic situations, like the case of children's hospital Sister María Ludovica, in de la Plata, and other hospitals throughout Buenos Aires.

Lawmakers say the new hospital police is based on hard science:

La capacidad de la risa mejora el acto médico y esto ha sido científicamente demostrado cuando se descubre que el cortex cerebral libera impulsos eléctricos negativos un segundo después de comenzar a reír, cuando nos reímos el cerebro emite información necesaria para activar la secreción de encefalinas, que poseen propiedades similares a la morfina con capacidad de aliviar el dolor.

The power of laughter to improve the effectiveness of medicine has been scientifically proved when it was discovered that the cerebral cortex releases negative electronic impulses one second after the start of laughter. When we laugh, the cerebral emits needed information to activate the secretion of enkephalins, which posses similar properties to morphine with the ability to relieve pain.

Now everyone in Argentina thinks the clown initiative is a great idea. On Twitter, several people have expressed their reservations:

Ha! There's no medicine, no bandages, there is no medicine but there will be clowns in hospitals!!!

I hate clowns and I hate hospitals, how perfect that the law now brings them together #Not

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