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Geshundheit! Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society, Through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy.

Sometimes Dr. Patch Adams wears a mask and a clown costume. He looks for inspiration to Aristophanes and Shakespeare, the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. He practices medicine at the Gesundheit Institute, which he describes as a "silly hospital" that charges no fees and accepts no third-party (insurance) payments. Often his patients are his overnight guests. In Gesundheit! he describes and explains these and other aspects of his highly unorthodox practice, arguing that the American health-care system, for all its high-tech miracles, is out of touch with what gives meaning to human life. Much of Adams's critique of modern medicine is credible and persuasive, despite an irritating tendency to slip into New Age jargon ("I believe that health-care professionals who feel burned out are not allowing the |enrapture potential' in the doctor-patient relationship"). But the real trouble with Gesundheit! is that like many of the commune-dwellers of the 1960s, Adams seems to believe that his highly idiosyncratic approach has universal application. It doesn't, as a "note to the reader" on the copyright page makes clear: "This book is intended as an informational guide. The remedies, approaches, and techniques described herein are meant to supplement, and not be a substitute for, professional care or treatment. They should not be used to treat a serious ailment without prior consultation with a qualified health-care professional." The reader who keeps that disclaimer in mind will find useful and provocative ideas - up to a point - in Gesundheit!
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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