The funny world of medical clowns

Manjulika Vaz, Helen Makri

Abstract

Many emotions are encountered in a hospital; distress, apprehension and fear, juxtaposed against relief, gratitude and happiness. Both sets are manifested in different people or in the same individual at different points of time. So interlinked are these two sets of emotions, and so frequent their occurrence, that doctors may sometimes become immune to the patient’s emotional state while focusing on the physical aspect. Taking medical histories, recommending investigations and treatment procedures, conducting medical examinations have all become mechanical, sometimes “detached”, procedures. They can also be a source of stress for a medical student who is trying to recall the “right” things to be done. However, the importance of a happy, cooperative patient cannot be over emphasised, both for the doctor to arrive at the right diagnosis as well as to aid in the process of healing itself. Studies have shown that anxiety, anger and such emotions tend to increase the perception of pain; something that the medical encounter aims to alleviate. It is, therefore, critical to address the patient’s negative emotions and prevent their physical manifestations

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