Summer 2018 energysafe issue 49
Using humour to treat young burns victims
Outfit of the day — red noses : Royal Children ’ s Hospital burns unit patient distracted from the discomfort of his injuries by Dr Popoff .
By Jonathan Granger , Head of Communications and Marketing
Energy Safe Victoria has partnered with the Clown Doctors to help burns victims at the Royal Children ’ s Hospital , Melbourne . The Clown Doctors support kids going through treatment at the RCH by making them laugh . As part of the partnership , ESV will sponsor two Clown Doctors to support burns patients once a week for 50 weeks of the year .
The Clown Doctors help relieve pain and distract kids during treatment by making them laugh with silly jokes , slapstick and music .
ESV chose to collaborate with the Clown Doctors as they support people who have
Why so serious : ESV ’ s Sharife struggling to keep things cool with Clown Doctors . suffered as a result of the misuse of gas or electricity . Its clinic at the burns unit is also an incredibly important service to the hospital .
Additionally , many within ESV are parents or know kids who have been treated at a hospital . As painful as it is for kids , the emotional burden placed on parents is heavy . Sitting beside the kids laughing at the Clown Doctors is mum or dad with a brave , stoic expression despite carrying emotional burden . Social media is littered with parents singing the praises of the Clown Doctors .
Having recently visited the unit myself and witnessed the Doctors do their work , it is quite an amazing feat . A child can be in a terrible physical and emotional state , even from the anticipation of treatment – a Clown Doctor walks in and within seconds , a smile appears .
From singing a lullaby on a ukulele to calm an infant with hot water burns on their chest , to imitating gas noises or bouncing around a rubber chicken and asking a bemused 10-year-old “ Are you my grandfather ?”. They all have ridiculous names including Dr Popoff , Dr Doctor and Dr Fairy Floss . It ’ s all designed to one end – laughter .
Late last year , at the launch of our partnership with the Royal Children ’ s Hospital , we were graced by the presence of a young patient . The youngster ( pictured above ) had both arms and legs covered in bandages after being placed in a scalding hot bath . Simply imagining what he had been through was difficult , let alone the confronting sight of the bandages hiding his limbs .
But , once the Clown Doctors appeared the pain and discomfort you would associate with the bandages was gone , replaced with giggles and a smile that lit up the courtyard . It was infectious .
On the day , doctors – medical doctors that is – also chimed in with praise for the Clown Doctors .
Director of Trauma and Burns Surgeon at The Royal Children ’ s Hospital , Warwick Teague said Clown Doctors were essential for the child and family-focused burns care provided by the hospital .
“ Thanks to the art of Clown Doctors , so many kids are examined and have painful dressing changes with otherwise impossible peace , comfort , smiles and even giggles . It is magic to watch them at work ,” he said .
“ One of the reasons I came to Australia ( from Ireland ) to work , was that The Royal Children ’ s Hospital had the Clown Doctors program .”
The partnership does more for ESV than a community service .
The Clown Doctors supports our barbecue safety campaign Look Before You Cook , which calls on people to check their barbecue gas connections . Failure to do so can lead to an explosion or fire .
You can find out more on the gas safety campaign on the Campaigns page of our website .
The Humour Foundation The concept behind the Clown Doctors originated from the work of Patch Adams , whose story was made famous by the 1998 Robin Williams film .
Clown Doctors are now all over Australia . They are not your Ronald McDonald-type clowns . There is no make-up and the costume does not go far past a white doctor ’ s coat , fart-making utensils and a silly hat .
Doctors helping Doctors : Warkwick Teague , Director of Trauma and Burns surgery speaking of his experience with Clown Doctors .