Patch Adams M.D. Book vs. Movie Review

Patch Adams is a hippie doctor that believes in communal living and happiness as a way to wellness. The movie was supposed to help with Patch’s dream of a free hospital coming true. It did not raise any money. In my opinion, the ending of the movie killed the entrepreneurial aspect of the movie. The message came out completely wrong.

The message at the end of the movie is “don’t trust strangers” as Patch’s girlfriend gets murdered by a man she is trying to help. The message of Patch’s life is the opposite. In real life, Patch married his girlfriend. They had a baby and lived 26 years of mutual respect and happiness until a respectful divorce. Both are still alive and Patch never questioned his mission to live communally and help everyone.

This book is a biography of Patch’s life; he really did contemplate suicide and wear funny costumes. It is also a manual to healthy living and his vision for a free full scale hospital and commune. While Patch may seem like a flaky idealist, he lives life in an extraordinary way. He started “clown visits” to Russia. He rides a unicycle during medical assessments. He loves people and life with no regrets and no limits.

He doesn’t believe in mainstream health care. He doesn’t believe in malpractice insurance, 3rd party reimbursement, or power of provider over patient. He believes that laughter is just as, if not more, important than medicine. He believes in being friends with his patients. Even though his hospital hasn’t reached his full vision, his vision has grown to a global outreach of bringing laughter and loving care to communities around the world.

Check out his website here: to learn more and even contribute to one of his many causes and outreach programs that continue to this day.