Health Report 4/24/13 The "Funnyatrics" clowns

April 24th, 2013

A hospital can be a scary place for kids. Between the needle sticks, surgeries, and strangers, it's no wonder many children don't look forward to their visits.
But sometimes all it takes is a clown to turn a child around.

Every day they put on face paint, red noses and oversized shoes. But these clowns are not headed to the circus.

"Morning. Hey, I'm good and you?"

This is where they perform.
"Doctor Slappy" and "Doctor Monday" visit sick kids. The "Funnyatrics" clowns are hospital staff members and permanent fixtures here.
"Hi mom!...Dadada."

Five days a week, they make their rounds with one goal, make kids laugh!

Tiffany Riley, "Dr. Slappy" says: "Once they start laughing, they feel better. There's no way you can't feel a little better if you're laughing."

Four-year-old cancer patient Stephen has had a rough morning, but some bubbles change everything!
"It was nice to laugh, huh?"

Dick Monday, "Dr. Monday" says: "One of our challenges and our goals is to empower the child."

And it may do even more. Studies show laughter can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve alertness and boost the immune system.

David Podeszwa, MD, Children's Medical Center in Dallas, says:  "You can see it. When the clowns enter the room and leave the room. The child is different."

Doctor Podeszwa says the clowns are often paged when a child won't eat or needs a shot.

Dr. Podeszwa, "It's a way of distracting them. It's a way of putting them at ease."

"You tricked me!"

Eight-year-old Amber needed some cheering up.

Amber says: "Because I have seizures."

A few minutes with these guys does the trick!

Brandy Bailey, Amber's mother, says: "It's amazing. It helps pass the time."

Clowning around to help kids feel better!
"Ta da!"

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