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Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy Paperback – October 1, 1998


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Frequently Bought Together

Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy + House Calls: How We Can All Heal the World One Visit at a Time + Patch Adams - Collector's Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press; Revised edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089281781X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817818
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Patch Adams, the movie starring Robin Williams, was a warm, humorous introduction to a very unusual man. Unfortunately, this audiobook does not provide any of the humor or warmth of the movie. Instead, Adams presents his manifesto for curing the ills of the medical profession and society at large. The abridgment is certainly long enough to get the main points across; the unabridged version gets tedious, and Arte Johnson's narration becomes grating and monotonous. We all know the medical profession in this country has problems. Adams's ideas for resolving them are as wide-ranging and, at times, as eccentric as he is. Ideas about bringing humor and joy to everyday life seem reasonable. However, it is hard to imagine doctors treating patients for free and not carrying malpractice insurance. For libraries with large alternative health sections.ATheresa Connors, Arkansas Tech. Univ., Russellville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This book is an enjoyable, easy read that's ideal for those interested in a new view of health." (New Times, Oct 2005)

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. (LOS ANGELES TIMES Sunday November 1, 1998)

"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." (Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine and Miracles)

"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." (Rick Wade, Senior Vice President, The American Hospital Association)

"If a wacky West Virginia doctor's dream of building a freehospital comes true, he'll have a small Vermont publishing house to thank." (Olivia F. Gentile, Rutland Herald)

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Customer Reviews

The movie "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams was, I felt, very good.
Stephen Pletko
A joy for any reader who, like Patch, has suffered the detriments of our current health care system, and who seeks to reform it into something that can actually heal.
Kathleen Nicastro
This book is a must have for those that are entering the medical field or just anyone who likes Patch's ideas in general.
JEM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on June 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you have seen the movie Patch Adams, the screen writers took some liberties with the life of Mr. Adams. The movie only tells a small distorted version of what is Patch Adams. Patch has some unconventional ideas about medicine. These ideas have led to a movement to change health care for the better. Patch has dedicated his life toward helping the less fortunate and still lives on this creed.
The one story in this book which sticks out in my mind is the story of the man with arthritis. To summarize, Patch discovered that the man did not feel the pain of his arthritis while watching the sunset. The man really enjoyed watching the sunset and pleasure from this event helps him forget his pain. Thinking of something pleasurable or performing a pleasurable act helps us forget pain. As Patch Adams himself said, The best medicince is not to treat the illness, but to treat the patient."
Thanks for your inspiration Patch! A great book!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Abner Rosenweig on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whoever reads this book and absorbs its messages will become a healthier individual and a better citizen of the world.

First, Patch examines the American healthcare system. He explains why corporate healthcare is a contradiction and cannot be permitted in a healthy society. He shows how the doctor-patient relationship has become more like a business interaction, and how this is relationship in itself is a fundamental plague on America.

Extending his experiences in healthcare to all society, Patch observes that we have lost touch with ourselves and each other, with nature, and lost perspective on the joy and wonder of life.

This criticism is where 99.9% of books and people stop. Patch is one of the few in the world who is not only deeply aware of the problems but has detailed plans on how to fix them and acts on those plans. In the book, he outlines his model for personal living and for a better society. A model based on the radical principles of joy and fun:

"The most revolutionary act anyone can commit is to be happy."

"We hear far more about pain because it seems to be associated with maturity. Enthusiastic joy is associated with childhood--as if it were something to outgrow."

Reading this book gave me a new conception of health. It's not just physical or personal like the parts of a car, it's psychological, intellectual, spiritual, social, political, economic, local, international, and interpersonal. Live creatively! Discover the fun we can have together! Live in peace! Now that's good medicine.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nicoletta Manns (snmanns@netcom.ca) on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book describes one of my fondest dreams come true. Ever since I was a little girl I knew there was something wrong with the way I was living; raised by my grandmother, singlehandedly, no friends, no parents, no trust, no joy, no fun. I would carefully draw plans for living in community with all the people I liked. Living quarters built in a circle or square, a common building, growing our own food, having animals to care for, etc.
This book makes me cry and laugh out loud with gratitude and joy at reading about what is so much needed in our world.
THANK YOU, PATCH ADAMS!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
+++++

This book by Hunter "Patch" Adams, M.D. (with Maureen Mylander) is about a social revolutionary who has devoted his life to giving away health care. Adams is founder of the "Gesundheit" Institute, a home-based medical practice in West Virginia that has treated more then 15,000 people for free. The Gesundheit Institute's dream is to build a free, full-scale hospital that will be open to anyone in the world.

This book is divided into two parts. The first part generally deals with Patch's philosophy on medicine while the second part describes the dream of opening up a free hospital.

Below I will state the title of each chapter for each part and give a quotation that represents the essence of each chapter.

PART 1: (About Patch and his medical philosophy)

(1) A health care system in pain. "I believe that health care [providers] who feel burned out are not allowing the "enrapture potential" in the doctor-patient relationship."

(2) An ideal medical practice. "Nosy, curious healers who make house calls will have the time of their lives!"

(3) Humor and healing, or why we're building a silly hospital. "People crave laughter as if it were an essential amino acid."

(4) Art, nature, and imagination. "Nature tops the list of potent tranquilizers and stress reducers. The mere sound of moving water has been shown to lower blood pressure."

(5) Rebuilding self, family, community, world. "I graduated from medical school `head smart.' While living in community, however, I have built buildings, farmed, raised goats, produced movies, and learned rope walking and unicycling."

PART 2: (The dream of a free hospital)

(6) The pilot period.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Niki Collins-queen, Author VINE VOICE on December 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
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.
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