Clown Doctors: Red-Nosed Healers

Ea timid knock on the door announces a surprise. Soon after, three clowns poke their heads through the door of the treatment room at the Helios Children’s Clinic in Wiesbaden, then jump into the room and create a good mood. Victoria lies on the treatment bed, her mother sits next to her, and three made-up jokers with red noses on their faces are playing pranks. Victoria screams with joy and her mother can’t help but laugh too. Soon they both had red noses on their faces. “Do you still need an appendix?” – asks the doctor. Furiosi grins and waves the plastic worm in Victoria’s face. She continues to snort with laughter, and the clown doctors have completed their mission again.

For 30 years now, clowns have been making sure that children’s laughter can be heard from hospital wards. In the fall of 1993, I visited a doctor in Wiesbaden. Horst Schmidt Clinic (HSK) first humorous visit. With this, the pioneers of fun from the capital of Hesse laid the foundation for the national umbrella organization “Clowns in Medicine and Care”, which currently has 19 member associations employing 332 professional clinical clowns. They no longer only visit children, but also elderly people in order to ease their difficult and sometimes stressful stay in the clinic or at home.

In Wiesbaden, this is organized by the association “Clown Doctors”, which has existed since mid-1994, and managing director Rainer Bormuth proudly reports: “30 years ago we were the first association that dared to shake up the children’s department. We now have 13 branches with pediatric clinics from Marburg, through Giessen, Frankfurt and Offenbach and all the way to Kaiserslautern.” Currently, 44 clown doctors visit approximately 60,000 children each year. “These are all professional artists with musical or acting education,” explains Bormut. “We then prepare them for a special task in clinics for at least six months, because clowns, of course, also know medical terms. But the main thing is to have fun, and Bormut laughs, remembering his first “clown visit” to HSK: “The clowns on the bed tore down the footrest. The children laughed from ear to ear, and over time I became paler and paler, because then they also pulled out the shelves from the closet, and I wondered if we had good insurance” .

“Humor-Visit” once a week

Apparently, no one blamed the clowns for this, because the director of the HSK children’s clinic, Dr. Doris Fisher, present time. “The clown doctors come to us once a week, and the children are delighted,” she says of daily life at the clinic. Staff also appreciate the work of cheerful assistants: if a child is very sad, nurses and teachers tell the clown doctors who needs to be cheered up, she says. Bernd Zimmer, former chief physician at the Rüsselsheim children’s clinic, is now a member of the board of the Wiesbaden Clown Doctors. For him, clowns are also healers, as he confirms when asked, because laughter supports the healing process. “When you have a child in the clinic, you treat three people, including mom and dad. And if they know how to laugh, they pass it on to their children,” says the doctor.

It’s really hard to stay serious because, as Dr. said. Krummel (Ruth Albertine), Dr. Shnikshnak (Hristo Kalanlioglu) and Dr. When the Furiosos (Roland Strasser) show up in brightly colored white medical coats, there’s a lot of nonsense going on. But Kalanlioglu can do something else. When he takes off the red nose, he becomes serious and says: “Today in Germany there is not a single large city with a children’s clinic that does not have clinic clowns. This is cool”. Kalanlioglu, 57, has been a clown doctor from the very beginning and made his first humorous visit to HSK with artist Laura Fernandez 30 years ago. Since then he has been helping children and other patients.

This also includes visits to intensive care units, nursing homes and two hospices in Hesse. This is not always easy, so if necessary, clowns receive psychological support. “My red nose is also a little protective shield. Not only does it make me do a lot of stupid things, but it also protects me,” he says thoughtfully. “We have no idea what’s going on in the room when we open the door. The red nose allows him to maintain a professional distance,” says Kalanlioglu: “We are still trying to cope with this suffering with the power of humor that we have at our disposal.” another level.”

Therefore, there are always touching moments that clowns remember for a long time. “Recently I was in front of the HSK without a disguise when a mother came up to me and said that she knew me,” Albertin recalls and says: “The woman had been in the clinic for several years with her chronically ill son. The first time we visited him, we sang “You are my sunshine” to a four-year-old boy. Whenever he feels bad, he asks his mother: “Mom, sing “You are my sunshine” to me again.” Albertine laughs with joy as he tells this story.

The Wiesbaden Clown Doctors currently have 66 members and the association is financed entirely by donations. If you would like to help, you can contact us online at inform.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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