What is right with Patch Adams?

Patch gives an impassioned speech before a council of doctors about the right way to treat patients.¬†Patch is fighting the same fight he’s been fighting his whole life: trying to convince narrow-minded authority figures that a more personal, loving, and human approach to medicine is really the only way that works. Ask yourself, what is right with this picture?

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Neutrino’s Analysis

Patch Adams’ Strengths

Adams’ humor and integrity are clear, but what’s really on display in this scene in particular is his persistence. Patch Adams really and truly believes in what he’s doing, and through integrity and persistence and a bit of bravery, he pushes this agenda for humanity, love and kindness in the medical workplace.

This is a struggle that many people face in many professions, not just doctors. Insurance adjusters are often asked to look at the bottom line and not the human beings whom they are dealing with. Police officers are sent to arrest people who use illegal drugs to treat life-threatening diseases. In every industry there are people in positions of authority who enforce a code of conduct without having to deal with what that looks like on the ground floor.

For doctors like Patch Adams and professionals in any field dealing immediately with the public or with patients and clients, compassion is very hard to remove from the equation. Making the people you answer to understand this is even harder, and ultimately, Patch Adams risks his career in a show of bravery simply to introduce a little humor and love into the hospital.

Strengths of the Medical Community

It’s easy to vilify the medical community, the authorities in this scene, and the status quo that Patch Adams is destined to fight against, but in the end, these are not people who want to watch sick children suffer and refuse compassion.

What they show is a sense of unity:¬†they work as a team and find strength in one another. This is the problem with the status quo: it’s a very easy and safe place to be exactly because it’s a position of such strength. When you think like everyone else, you rarely have to argue your point or defend yourself.

Likewise, it takes integrity and a degree of persistence (misguided as it may be) to try to maintain that status quo in the face of rebellious young professionals like Patch Adams.

Ultimately, the reason Patch Adams is in such a tricky situation is because they are working towards the same goal, but convincing proud, seasoned professionals that they’re doing the right thing in the wrong way can be harder than convincing them that they’re doing the wrong thing in the first place.

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