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AMSA Follies: The (In)Famous Patch Adams

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

The keynote speaker at AMSA 2011 was Patch Adams accompanied by a sidekick/collaborator of some sort, Susan Parenti. Only knowing of Patch Adams from the Robin Williams cinematic depiction so many years ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. In lieu of extended [commentary], I present to you here the highlights:

Dr. Parenti:

  • The 3% of the country who own 97% of the assets think that health insurance is a market in which to make money. The horrors! [capitalism is morally repugnant? not the most nuanced argument]
  • The Gesundheit Institute [Patch Adams’ facility] has never carried malpractice insurance and has never been sued. [Am I alone in thinking that there might be a causal relationship].
  • The Gesundheit Institute is open to all sorts of “medicine:” homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurveda, reiki, and a few others I’ve never heard of.

Dr. Adams

  • “Depression is not a mental illness. It is a pharmaceutical company diagnosis. Depression is simply a symptom of loneliness.”
  • One of the scariest phrases in the world: “AMSA could lead the way on…”

Inspiration is easily muted by unrelated fringe beliefs. Would that the audience have been more critical.

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