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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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From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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)
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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!
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If I believed in Karma, I would say I was Patch Adams in a former life. I love his philosophy.Published 21 days ago by sue
This book is slightly better than his House Calls book IMHO.
It explains his thoughts on how to improve/change our medical system. Read more
Has always been someone I've looked up to even before the movie. Can't wait to read it!Published 1 month ago by Christopher A. Brothers
Patch Adams is a fascinating genius who thinks outside the box. His Gesundheit philosophy is fascinating, but best of all, it often works.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
gives the background of the story of Patch Adams. I understand that he was not ahppy about the movie treated it but if they had not done so, I probably would not have bought the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
I loved the movie, and just knew the book would be just as good, if not better.Published 8 months ago by Jessica Dorsey
Very informative book on a way to provide free medical to people. Patch also has a listing at the end of the book with many resources that are really great.Published 14 months ago by SueHord