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Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy

Overview

The inspiring and hilarious story of Patch Adams's quest to bring free health care to the world and to transform the way doctors practice medicine

• Tells the story of Patch Adam's lifetime quest to transform the health care system

• Released as a film from Universal Pictures, starring Robin Williams

Meet Patch Adams, M.D., a social revolutionary who has devoted his career to giving away health care. Adams is the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, a home-based medical practice...

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Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy

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Overview

The inspiring and hilarious story of Patch Adams's quest to bring free health care to the world and to transform the way doctors practice medicine

• Tells the story of Patch Adam's lifetime quest to transform the health care system

• Released as a film from Universal Pictures, starring Robin Williams

Meet Patch Adams, M.D., a social revolutionary who has devoted his career to giving away health care. Adams is the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, a home-based medical practice that has treated more than 15,000 people for free, and that is now building a full-scale hospital that will be open to anyone in the world free of charge. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? Not for those who know and work with Patch. Whether it means putting on a red clown nose for sick children or taking a disturbed patient outside to roll down a hill with him, Adams does whatever is necessary to help heal. In his frequent lectures at medical schools and international conferences, Adams's irrepressible energy cuts through the businesslike facade of the medical industry to address the caring relationship between doctor and patient that is at the heart of true medicine.

All author royalties are used to fund The Gesundheit Institute, a 40-bed free hospital in West Virginia. Adams's positive vision and plan for the future is an inspiration for those concerned with the inaccessibility of affordable, quality health care.

Today's high-tech medicine has become too costly, impersonal, and grim. In his frequent lectures to colleges, churches, community groups, medical schools, and conferences, Patch shows how healing can be a loving, creative, humorous human exchange—not a business transaction.

In 1971, Dr. Adams and a few colleagues founded the Gesundheit Institute in Northern Virginia. During the next 12 years, they operated a home-based family medical practice and managed to treat over 15,000 people without payment, malpractice insurance, or formal facilities. Royalties will fund the Gesundheit Institute, a 40-bed free hospital in West Virginia. Photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

LOS ANGELES TIMES Sunday November 1

The Universal movie soon to be released as "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was born as a book called "Gesundheit!" published by a small Vermont house and written by a doctor who dresses as a clown, doesn't charge his patients and told the architect designing his new health center in West Virginia to "make it silly," with trap doors, eyeball-shaped exam rooms and chandeliers to swing on. How did such a project find its way to print? And how did it get to Universal?

According to publisher Ehud Sperling, who started Inner Traditions 23 years ago and is just now enjoying his first Hollywood sale, "Gesundheit!" was written at the suggestion of one Josh Mailman of the philanthropic Mailman family from New York, who met Patch Adams at an ersatz-hippie celebration called the Rainbow Gathering. Mailman thought people would want to read about this 6-foot, 5-inch ponytailed man who called himself "a pie in the face of the American medical establishment"--his goal is free medical care for all--and how he came to hold his unorthodox views. Mailman introduced Adams to Sperling, who found him a coauthor, Maureen Mylander, and a book was born. That was in 1983.

The movie deal took place at least 10 years later, at a meeting of the hip entrepreneur invitation-only Social Ventures Network, where Sperling and Mailman met up by chance with "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell, who had heard of Patch Adams at the time of "Gesundheit!'s" publication. Farrell wanted to produce the project. He optioned the book via Al Zuckerman's Writer's House for what Zuckerman characterizes now as a steal, made a pitch to Universal and secured the interest of comedy director Mike Shadyac ("Liar, Liar"). "Everyone wanted Williams," reports Sperling, "because it was an ideal vehicle for him, but no one wanted to get their hopes up."

But the clown in Adams appealed to Williams. What about the height discrepancy? "Williams is shorter, but he's very funny," Sperling says. There has been talk at Universal of donating a portion of the box office to Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, which is more than $4 million short of the $5 million needed to finish work on the grounds and building, but according to Sperling, nothing has happened yet on that front.

Bernie Siegel
"Patch Adams's book ought to be required reading for patients, doctors, and ordinary mortals of all kinds. It will help us rediscover the true meaning of medical care, and it will help to heal the health care system itself. I have learned from Patch the courage it takes to be different and to reveal your wounds: behind his clownlike persona lies a great deal of wisdom, and it often falls to the court jester to speak the truth that those in power need to hear."
Rick Wade
"At last Patch Adams, M.D. has put on paper his vision of patient-centered health care . . . a vision that has inspired so many over the years. Patch's 'crazy dream' is, in reality, the root of what good health care should be all about and too often isn't. Any health care professional who reads Gesundheit! will come away with a renewed sense of mission and joy about what they do."
Olivia F. Gentile

"If a wacky West Virginia doctor's dream of building a freehospital comes true, he'll have a small Vermont publishing house to thank."
New Times

"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health."
From the Publisher
"If a wacky West Virginia doctor's dream of building a freehospital comes true, he'll have a small Vermont publishing house to thank."

"Patch Adams's book ought to be required reading for patients, doctors, and ordinary mortals of all kinds. It will help us rediscover the true meaning of medical care, and it will help to heal the health care system itself. I have learned from Patch the courage it takes to be different and to reveal your wounds: behind his clownlike persona lies a great deal of wisdom, and it often falls to the court jester to speak the truth that those in power need to hear."

"At last Patch Adams, M.D. has put on paper his vision of patient-centered health care . . . a vision that has inspired so many over the years. Patch's 'crazy dream' is, in reality, the root of what good health care should be all about and too often isn't. Any health care professional who reads Gesundheit! will come away with a renewed sense of mission and joy about what they do."

"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health."

The Universal movie soon to be released as "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was born as a book called "Gesundheit!" published by a small Vermont house and written by a doctor who dresses as a clown, doesn't charge his patients and told the architect designing his new health center in West Virginia to "make it silly," with trap doors, eyeball-shaped exam rooms and chandeliers to swing on. How did such a project find its way to print? And how did it get to Universal?

According to publisher Ehud Sperling, who started Inner Traditions 23 years ago and is just now enjoying his first Hollywood sale, "Gesundheit!" was written at the suggestion of one Josh Mailman of the philanthropic Mailman family from New York, who met Patch Adams at an ersatz-hippie celebration called the Rainbow Gathering. Mailman thought people would want to read about this 6-foot, 5-inch ponytailed man who called himself "a pie in the face of the American medical establishment"—his goal is free medical care for all—and how he came to hold his unorthodox views. Mailman introduced Adams to Sperling, who found him a coauthor, Maureen Mylander, and a book was born. That was in 1983.

The movie deal took place at least 10 years later, at a meeting of the hip entrepreneur invitation-only Social Ventures Network, where Sperling and Mailman met up by chance with "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell, who had heard of Patch Adams at the time of "Gesundheit!'s" publication. Farrell wanted to produce the project. He optioned the book via Al Zuckerman's Writer's House for what Zuckerman characterizes now as a steal, made a pitch to Universal and secured the interest of comedy director Mike Shadyac ("Liar, Liar"). "Everyone wanted Williams," reports Sperling, "because it was an ideal vehicle for him, but no one wanted to get their hopes up."

But the clown in Adams appealed to Williams. What about the height discrepancy? "Williams is shorter, but he's very funny," Sperling says. There has been talk at Universal of donating a portion of the box office to Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, which is more than $4 million short of the $5 million needed to finish work on the grounds and building, but according to Sperling, nothing has happened yet on that front.

Rutland Herald Olivia F. Gentile
"If a wacky West Virginia doctor's dream of building a freehospital comes true, he'll have a small Vermont publishing house to thank."
Oct 2005 New Times
"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health."
1998 LOS ANGELES TIMES Sunday November 1
The Universal movie soon to be released as "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was born as a book called "Gesundheit!" published by a small Vermont house and written by a doctor who dresses as a clown, doesn't charge his patients and told the architect designing his new health center in West Virginia to "make it silly," with trap doors, eyeball-shaped exam rooms and chandeliers to swing on. How did such a project find its way to print? And how did it get to Universal?

According to publisher Ehud Sperling, who started Inner Traditions 23 years ago and is just now enjoying his first Hollywood sale, "Gesundheit!" was written at the suggestion of one Josh Mailman of the philanthropic Mailman family from New York, who met Patch Adams at an ersatz-hippie celebration called the Rainbow Gathering. Mailman thought people would want to read about this 6-foot, 5-inch ponytailed man who called himself "a pie in the face of the American medical establishment"—his goal is free medical care for all—and how he came to hold his unorthodox views. Mailman introduced Adams to Sperling, who found him a coauthor, Maureen Mylander, and a book was born. That was in 1983.

The movie deal took place at least 10 years later, at a meeting of the hip entrepreneur invitation-only Social Ventures Network, where Sperling and Mailman met up by chance with "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell, who had heard of Patch Adams at the time of "Gesundheit!'s" publication. Farrell wanted to produce the project. He optioned the book via Al Zuckerman's Writer's House for what Zuckerman characterizes now as a steal, made a pitch to Universal and secured the interest of comedy director Mike Shadyac ("Liar, Liar"). "Everyone wanted Williams," reports Sperling, "because it was an ideal vehicle for him, but no one wanted to get their hopes up."

But the clown in Adams appealed to Williams. What about the height discrepancy? "Williams is shorter, but he's very funny," Sperling says. There has been talk at Universal of donating a portion of the box office to Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, which is more than $4 million short of the $5 million needed to finish work on the grounds and building, but according to Sperling, nothing has happened yet on that front.

Sunday November 1 - Los Angeles Times
The Universal movie soon to be released as "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was born as a book called "Gesundheit!" published by a small Vermont house and written by a doctor who dresses as a clown, doesn't charge his patients and told the architect designing his new health center in West Virginia to "make it silly," with trap doors, eyeball-shaped exam rooms and chandeliers to swing on. How did such a project find its way to print? And how did it get to Universal?According to publisher Ehud Sperling, who started Inner Traditions 23 years ago and is just now enjoying his first Hollywood sale, "Gesundheit!" was written at the suggestion of one Josh Mailman of the philanthropic Mailman family from New York, who met Patch Adams at an ersatz-hippie celebration called the Rainbow Gathering. Mailman thought people would want to read about this 6-foot, 5-inch ponytailed man who called himself "a pie in the face of the American medical establishment"—his goal is free medical care for all—and how he came to hold his unorthodox views. Mailman introduced Adams to Sperling, who found him a coauthor, Maureen Mylander, and a book was born. That was in 1983. The movie deal took place at least 10 years later, at a meeting of the hip entrepreneur invitation-only Social Ventures Network, where Sperling and Mailman met up by chance with "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell, who had heard of Patch Adams at the time of "Gesundheit!'s" publication. Farrell wanted to produce the project. He optioned the book via Al Zuckerman's Writer's House for what Zuckerman characterizes now as a steal, made a pitch to Universal and secured the interest of comedy director Mike Shadyac ("Liar, Liar"). "Everyone wanted Williams," reports Sperling, "because it was an ideal vehicle for him, but no one wanted to get their hopes up." But the clown in Adams appealed to Williams. What about the height discrepancy? "Williams is shorter, but he's very funny," Sperling says. There has been talk at Universal of donating a portion of the box office to Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, which is more than $4 million short of the $5 million needed to finish work on the grounds and building, but according to Sperling, nothing has happened yet on that front.
Olivia F. Gentile
"If a wacky West Virginia doctor's dream of building a freehospital comes true, he'll have a small Vermont publishing house to thank."
New Times
"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health."
LOS ANGELES TIMES Sunday November 1
The Universal movie soon to be released as "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was born as a book called "Gesundheit!" published by a small Vermont house and written by a doctor who dresses as a clown, doesn't charge his patients and told the architect designing his new health center in West Virginia to "make it silly," with trap doors, eyeball-shaped exam rooms and chandeliers to swing on. How did such a project find its way to print? And how did it get to Universal?

According to publisher Ehud Sperling, who started Inner Traditions 23 years ago and is just now enjoying his first Hollywood sale, "Gesundheit!" was written at the suggestion of one Josh Mailman of the philanthropic Mailman family from New York, who met Patch Adams at an ersatz-hippie celebration called the Rainbow Gathering. Mailman thought people would want to read about this 6-foot, 5-inch ponytailed man who called himself "a pie in the face of the American medical establishment"—his goal is free medical care for all—and how he came to hold his unorthodox views. Mailman introduced Adams to Sperling, who found him a coauthor, Maureen Mylander, and a book was born. That was in 1983.

The movie deal took place at least 10 years later, at a meeting of the hip entrepreneur invitation-only Social Ventures Network, where Sperling and Mailman met up by chance with "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell, who had heard of Patch Adams at the time of "Gesundheit!'s" publication. Farrell wanted to produce the project. He optioned the book via Al Zuckerman's Writer's House for what Zuckerman characterizes now as a steal, made a pitch to Universal and secured the interest of comedy director Mike Shadyac ("Liar, Liar"). "Everyone wanted Williams," reports Sperling, "because it was an ideal vehicle for him, but no one wanted to get their hopes up."

But the clown in Adams appealed to Williams. What about the height discrepancy? "Williams is shorter, but he's very funny," Sperling says. There has been talk at Universal of donating a portion of the box office to Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, which is more than $4 million short of the $5 million needed to finish work on the grounds and building, but according to Sperling, nothing has happened yet on that front.

From the Publisher

"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health."
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
For all of its wonder drugs and dazzling technology, the medical profession seems to have strayed from the art of healing. Enter Patch Adams, doctor, clown and firm believer in the healing powers of humor, joy and simple listening. Decked out with a rubber nose and a silly hat, Patch practices free, fun-filled medicine at the Gesundheit Institute, where laughter is the rule and payments are the exception. his book very clearly points out the problems inherent in our current medical system: the slavery to money and technology, the myth of doctors as gods, and the removal of the human element. He then paints a picture of the ideal medical practice where doctors and patients relate as friends, where health and wellness are an integral part of community life, and where love and joy run through it all. I must confess that I have absolutely fallen in love with Patch just from reading his book. His idealism, love of life, sense of fun and commitment to helping built healthy, supportive, joyous communities rise out of the pages like a deep belly laugh. A truly delighful read!
—FGP
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892817818
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 424,234
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patch Adams, M.D., is a social revolutionary and one-man show who believes in "horse and buggy" medicine and never charges his patients a cent! In 1971, the author and a few of his colleagues founded the Gesundheit institute in Northern Virginia. During the next twelve years, they operated a home-based family medical practice and managed to treat more than 15,000 people without payment, malpractice insurance, or formal facilities. Patch Adams continues on his life mission to achieve the goal of building a fully functioning, free health care center. 

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Table of Contents

Publisher's Preface

Foreword

Author's Acknowledgments

Co-Author's Preface

Introduction

Part I Bringing Your Vision and Joy to the Practice of Medicine

1 A Health Care System in Pain
2 An Ideal Medical Practice
3 Humor and Healing, or Why We're Building a Silly Hospital
4 Art, Nature, and Imagination
5 Rebuilding Self, Family, Community, World

Huge - What Happens to a Dream Unleashed

Part II A Prescription for Health and Healing

A Chronology of the Gesundheit Institute

6 The Pilot Period
7 The Dream Defined
8 Garth's Story, By Gareth Branwyn
9 Organizing Dreamers, by Blair Voyvodic, M.D.
10 Building the Dream
11 Living on the Land, by Kathy Blomquist
12 Light a Candle: How Can I Help?
13 Passion and Persistence
14 Five Years Have Passed

Bibliography: A Booklover's Search for Understanding and Ideas

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2001

    A MAGICAL BOOK

    Behind Patch Adams clown nose and jokes lies a social revolutionary who has devoted his life to transforming the health care system. In his book ¿Gesundheit¿ he shares a vision of a free holistic medical practice based on faith, friendship and fun. Adams life and work even inspired the producers of Universal Studios to make a movie titled ¿Patch Adams¿ staring Robin Williams. Patch Adams is the founder of Gesundheit, a holistic home-based medical practice that managed to see more than 15,000 people without bills, malpractice insurance, formal facilities and paper work. Adams¿ vision is a wake-up call for all of us. Like Adams I became discouraged when the art of counseling and medicine was replaced by the science of business and technology. During my 20 years of working as a children¿s counselor at a Mental Health Center I witnessed how mental health and medicine, the nations number one industries today, shifted from the community to the corporate level. When the loving human interchange between a client and counselor became more a business transaction, and the paperwork not the people became the bulk of our services due to fear of litigation, I decided it was time to retire. In ¿Gesundheit¿ Adams discourages health care professionals from carrying malpractice insurance. When fear is the baseline from which to practice healing it encourages caregivers to prescribe ¿cookbook¿ treatments even when they believe them to be inadequate or potentially harmful. Fear and distrust makes physicians reluctant to explore alternate therapy and leads them to put patients through procedures and tests that are unnecessary and defensive. When professionals see patients as passive recipients of wisdom there is no room for humility or mistakes. A malpractice climate denies physicians the right to be imperfect. Third-party reimbursement is also a problem. It has diverted medicine from a service to a business and become a circus act with many hoops to jump through. Doctors tend to over-order tests and overdo procedures when patients are insured. It¿s easier to order tests than provide care or comfort. Hospital supply companies, medical technology and pharmaceutical firms have become multimillion dollar moguls of medicine. Another problem is that the professional distance ethic often leads to aloofness and arrogance. Many patients are described as diseases, lab values, or treatments. When people are called the names of their diseases other facets of the patient¿s life are neglected such as family, friends, faith, fun, work, nutrition and exercise. Life itself is bigger than illness, diagnosis, treatment and disease. When touching is taboo and getting close to clients is forbidden we loose the magic of vulnerability and trust in a relationship. Healing happens in the relationship between the healer and the patient. A healer cannot offset the pain and suffering of a client without intimacy. Healers need the freedom to cry with and hug their patients. Transference is inevitable. Every human being has some kind of impact on another. A solid relationship creates a loving, human, creative, cooperative and open environment. Privacy or confidentiality rules make intimacy difficult. Public disclosure strengthens relationships and helps develop a greater sense of support and understanding. Like 12-step programs the surrendering of privacy is the cornerstone of friendship and an antidote to loneliness. Our stories are important and listening to each other¿s stories provides the magic for healing. We are a tribal people and we need community. We need to move from the insurance of cash to the insurance of clan. Progress has become synonymous with ¿advances in technology.¿ Although modern medicine has made great strides in knowledge and technology, health care professionals are rarely vibrant with the joy of human service. Many doctors feel naked without their instruments and machines. Even though comfort, empathy, and reassurance¿so vital to a medi

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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