Patch Adams

Based on the true story of Dr. Patch Adams, Robin Williams stars as the doctor who was not afraid to engage with his patients in a way few people had done before. In this 1998 movie, Patch Adams reminds us of the beauty of a patient-doctor relationship, the importance of happiness and laughter during illness, and to never give up in pursuing your dream to be a doctor.

This inspiring drama directed by Tom Shadyac is based on the bookGesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter by Hunter Doherty Adams with Maureen Mylander. It presents the true story of a Virginia medical student who breaks all the rules by daring to proclaim that the best medicine for patients is listening, love, compassion, laughter, and play. This exuberant and enthusiastic character, more than any other screen hero in 1998, demonstrates the spiritual practice of zeal — being aroused by life.

During a brief stay in a mental hospital, Patch Adams (Robin Williams) learns that empathy and creativity are two of the keys to healing others. Another is being able to see the “whole world anew each day.” Believing that he is called to bring this revolutionary message to the medical establishment, he enrolls at Virginia Medical University. Even in the face of tragedy, Adams proves to be a resilient idealist. “You treat a disease,” he argues, “you win or lose. You treat a person, and you always win.”

Since 1971, the Gesundheit Institute has provided 15,000 people with free medical care and the healing balm of friendship. Patch Adams has said: “The most revolutionary act one can commit in our world is to be happy.” Speaking right to the heart, this movie raises up joy as a way of life and passion as a foundational element in zeal.


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