“In my last year at the Medical College of Virginia, I began working on a line of thought about my dreams to improve health care that would shape the rest of my life.

I drew up a grandiose plan—having no idea how grandiose at the time—that I felt ready to commit myself to. Titled ‘Positive Thinking’, the plan was about providing health care in the best interests of patient and staff alike. A group-communal situation seemed the most promising approach. But I knew of no models in America for a therapeutic medical community that put humanism first. It was clear I would need to plan it out.

The plan reflected my realization that the systems in which people live—capitalist, patriarchal, militaristic systems—effected not only their finances, choice of work, housing, education etc, but also effected their health. So I envisioned a model of holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the society and the world.

The Gesundheit hospital would be a health care community based on friendship and mutual interdependence, with a staff that lives in the facility with their families in a collective atmosphere of happiness, silliness, love, creativity and cooperation. The atmosphere would enhance healing and relieve suffering.

The plan was to create a model that addressed all the problems of health care in one model.


“The Gesundheit hospital would be a health care community based on friendship and mutual interdependence, with a staff that lives in the facility with their families in a collective atmosphere of happiness, silliness, love, creativity and cooperation. The atmosphere would enhance healing and relieve suffering.”

 

I envisioned a community where people with poor self-images could go, actively participate in the rebuilding their lives, and reestablish love of self and of others—the most potent therapy of all.

I envisioned a farm of about 75 to 100 acres with a primary school, a library, dormitories for as many as 300 patients, and facilities for artists and craftspeople.

We would have gardens to make the community self-sufficient and a range of projects to make work a joyous game.

The community would have a permanent staff of doctors and a temporary staff of teachers. Most people would stay only a few hours or days, but those needing the community for longer periods would stay longer.

My idea at that time (and still is, now) is that this model hospital would not necessarily be copied but rather would stimulate other groups to develop their own ideal medical approach for their communities. “

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Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

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