Tom Shadyac The Patch Adams Movie: Review

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About this sample


Words: 1313 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 1313|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Hunter “Patch” Adams is a doctor who, among other things, founded the Gesundheit Institute to try and change the medical profession. After attempting suicide, he finds himself and realizes that he wants to help people. He can do this directly by becoming a doctor, but when he notices medicine is a cold, unfeeling process he wants to change, he attempts to do just that. Over the course of the movie, he faces several injustices in the face of his righteous quest, but does not give up and is where he is now because of this.

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The circle of faith in action model is defined as “awareness, analysis, and action”. In his fight to make medicine more friendly to the people it helps, he takes these three steps and achieves his goal. His own awareness begins to take shape while he is in the mental institution after his suicide attempt. Despite being a rehabilitation facility, none of the faculty seem to really care about the patients and only do what they do for a paycheck. The dismissive attitude of the hospital's main people and the orderlies shows this quite well.

This starts Patch on his quest to change things, but not before he enters medical school and sees the injustice in an even worse form there. Students are not allowed to see the patients until their 3rd year, and even then in a purely educational sense. The strict Dean Walcott makes sure of this, and Patch is disciplined and threatened with expulsion several times for “aggravating patients” and “embarassing the community” when in reality he's only trying to make it more fun for everyone-doctors, students, and most importantly patients. After analysis of this situation, he decides that medicine must be changed.

Patch then buys an old ranch farmhouse and converts it into a small clinic. With his friends he is able to run it well. However, this clinic isn't just an ordinary clinic. No one there is labelled as a “doctor”, or more clearly, everyone is. Whether the people there seek treatment or give it, everyone has a job. This goes from actually administering treatment to cleaning up after others, or (most critically in Patch's operation) entertaining patients with any means necessary. After Patch graduates, he creates the Gesundheit Institute, a medical facility using alternative cheap methods to treat patients and employing entertainment to eliminate the cold atmosphere many hospitals have.

The whole reason Patch does what he does in the first place is the somewhat inhumane treatment by hospitals to their patients. He disagrees with the ridiculous costs of healthcare. Even today, simple visits can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. To Patch, this cannot stand, as he believes humans deserve their right to be treated. On a more personable level, he dislikes the social treatment given to patients. To him, most doctors see their patients not as human beings with a right to be medically treated but as a “job” or a “number”. To him, most are only concerned about the money they get from the treatment and not about whether the patient is actually okay. This has a real world basis, as the sterile, boring, darkness of hospitals can contribute to depression and in turn make medical issues even worse as your will to fight slips away.

Patch doesn't just try to change the system, he does. While he's in school he promotes fair treatment of patients and visits them (cancer-stricken children foremost) even though he isn't allowed. He convinces his roommate (who detests Patch's attempts to change) that his cause is worth it. Even Dean Walcott and the school board is convinced of his talent by the time Patch finally graduates. More importantly, they accept his unorthodox methods as legitimate, and begin to move their education tactics and treatment methods to a more personal, fun type. Patch knew what he wanted to do, and he did. Even today you can see hospitals with decorations, entertainment, easier treatment, and many other new things that set them apart from the treatment of many years ago. And it would be unfair to say Patch and his Gesundheit institute didn't have a hand in that.

The first Catholic Social Teaching theme is respect of the life and dignity of the human person- and this is what Patch, and the entire movie are all about. The real Patch's life is dedicated to fair treatment of patients and to an extent, everyone. He also says death should be treated with dignity and respects that one day, everyone has to go. Patch starts medicine towards more humane treatment and his work has had an effect today.

Patch believes medicine should be a community, so everyone- doctors and patients should unite for good treatment. In his first clinic everyone has a job, not just those who are administering the treatment to the patients. He promotes family values and makes sure every voice is heard.

Patch's responsibility as a doctor is to help his patient. He must respect their rights and do everything in his power to respect a patient and carry out their wishes. He must make sure they survive as long as they can, but respects their right to die. However, Patch takes his minimum responsibilities as a doctor and takes it much further- he becomes a helper. He makes his patients feel good not just bodily, but in their minds as well.

Patch believes healthcare should be low-cost or even free, because every human deserves medical care. His first clinic and his full hospital today are both non profit and rely on volunteers, patient assistance and tireless work from those involved to keep them running. No one is turned away, especially the vulnerable who really need the help. Patch is a natural helper and will do anything he can if someone is in need of his help.

Patch respects dignity. Those who assist him in his medical work do it not out of a desire for money but out of the goodness of their hearts. They are treated just as fairly as the patients. To Patch, medicine isn't just about the patient. It's about the doctor as well, and they have rights.

To Patch, we must all stand together as a community. In his perfect world, medicine and any other kind of help is always given for free. Humans are naturally good and he took what was in him and revolutionized a huge part of society. Even after he's gone, the protocol he put into practice will remain and Patch will only truly die when medicine regresses back to the almost robotic way it was years ago. Doctor and patient must stand as one unit for the good of themselves. Solidarity is key in Patch's world, and you must stand up for what you believe in. Even after the death of his girlfriend, his expulsion, his suicide attempt, and the several other obstacles in his way Patch never gave up, and this attitude spread to his close friends.

As a doctor, caring for God's creation is Patch's job. He works with humans, but he would surely help an animal or plant in need if he knew how. Patch respects and cares for the planet. As his influence spreads, many others do as well. His organizations are non-profit to make sure no one is turned away, and Patch continues to work with his patients to this day.

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Patch Adams's influence on medicine was critical to the field. Today, every medical institution is more humanized and treats its patients with the respect they deserve as human beings. Because of him, patients feel better and will heal faster because of it. This is a huge step in the right direction and it's insane that it took that long for the medical profession to realize.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Tom Shadyac The Patch Adams Movie: Review. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Tom Shadyac The Patch Adams Movie: Review.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
Tom Shadyac The Patch Adams Movie: Review. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
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