Patch Adams: Character Analysis

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Hunter Adams doesn’t see a purpose in his life. He attempts suicide and commits himself to a psychiatric hospital. There he sees the misery and unhappiness of the patients. He doesn’t like the attitude and conduct of the workers and the doctors at the hospital. For example, during his therapy session the psychiatrist does not pay attention to what Hunter says, and is preoccupied with adding sugar and cream to his coffee. Hunter Adams believes that the workers and doctors should be beneficial and respectful to the patients, and treat them as human beings. During the group session at the hospital, Hunter Adams reminds the doctor that Beanie, a fellow patient, is a still a human being, even though he is catatonic.

Hunter decides to make the environment of the institute healthier by assisting and helping the patients. He decides to humour them, understand them and help them with their fears and issues. Hunter goes to Arthur Mendelson and tries to understand what the right answer is to the “how many fingers” problem. He connects with Arthur, gets from him the nickname Patch, and learns a valuable lesson: that we must change our perspective in order to “see the whole world a new each day.” Arthur appreciates that Patch came to spend time with him and saw that he was “something besides a crazy, bitter old man”. Hunter Adams discovers that the key to human happiness is having loving and caring people in their lives. Patch helps his roommate Rudy overcome his fear of squirrels and shows him how to use imagination and shoot the squirrels with imaginary guns. After this that Patch decides that the best way to serve others and spread his ideas is by becoming a doctor.

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Patch’s time at the psychiatric institute demonstrates the Catholic Social Teaching Principles of Human Dignity and Common Good. Patch sees that every person, regardless of their gender, race, age nationality, religion deserves respect. He shows respect to Arthur, Rudy, and Beanie, who are mentally challenged. Patch also creates a social condition that allows people to reach their full potential. Patch creates an imaginative environment for Rudy that allowed him to overcome his fear and due to this, Rudy, without his fear as an obstacle, gains the ability to reach his full potential.

Patch gets enrolled into the Medical College of Virginia. Patch receives excellent grades at the institute, however, he disagrees with the college’s rule that students are not allowed to interact with hospital patients before their third year. Patch disobeys this rule. He pretends to be a third year student and visits the patients at the hospital. There he immediately notices that the human dignity of a person is being ignored. Doctor at the hospital, instead of referring to the patient by their name, refer to them by their disease. Patch believes that patients should not be treated conventionally, but psychologically and spiritually; by making them feel love, laughter, friendship and safety, no matter what disease or condition they may have. Patch with the help of small objects such as a ball or plastic glove pretends to be a clown, chicken, bee, cowboy for the sick children. Using balloon animals Patch helps a man imagine and fulfill his wish of being on a safari. To fulfill a sick woman’s fantasy, he fills a plastic swimming pool with noodles. Patch also spreads what he has to offer outside of the hospital. People laugh at his jokes at the meat convention, the gynecologist convention. He calls random people and talks to a lonely man for over three hours.

During his time in the hospital, and talking to people about their experiences with medical institutions, Patch becomes fully aware of the injustices occurring. For example, a woman has to spend the last moments of her child’s life filling out paperwork, another woman was sent home after forgetting her insurance card even though her appendix was about to burst. He also notices that medical needs and checkups cost people a fortune. Patch came up with an idea for the Gesundheit! Institute, a free, fun hospital, which will use humour to heal pain and suffering. “It’ll be a community where joy is a way of life, where learning is the highest aim, where love is the ultimate goal.”

Patch’s time at school, the hospital, and the Gesundheit! Institute demonstrates the Catholic Social Teaching Principles of Human Dignity, Common Good, Family, Community and Participation, Rights and Duties and the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. No matter who Patch is with, he treats them with the utmost respect. He sees that all people are equal, created in the image and likeness of God. He creates social conditions that allows people to reach their full potential. He constantly reminds the doctors at the hospital that everyone deserves to be treated with the Golden Rule in mind. In his third year of medical school, thanks to Patch, the doctors refer to patients by their first name. Patch has made the environment of the hospital much happier. Patch’s “antics have improved the quality life of the patients, they don’t complain as much, they take less medication.” He makes many patients smile and laugh because he knows that laughter increases the oxygen levels in blood which has many medical advantages. He sees how difficult life is for the poor and vulnerable so he opens a free health clinic that takes care of everyone with open arms. The Gesundheit! Institute allows everyone, including the poor and vulnerable, the protection of rights, provides them with health care, food, and shelter, and a place to participate in God’s good creations and the social well-being of all.

This film proves that individuals can make a difference in the world. Patch has made an enormous difference. After he discovered his purpose in life, he made it his life’s goal to help others. Patch Adams should be an example for all of us. Patch shows that by being kind to one another, by doing something simple such as smiling or saying hello or having a conversation with someone can touch them in an immense way. Patch Adams has helped others on an immense scale. We probably won’t end up helping others on the same scale that Patch has, although by reaching out to people and paying attention to them, especially those who are in need, are vulnerable and lonely.

A person who has made an injustice into justice is Steve Wozniak. He is the cofounder of Apple. After his success at Apple, Woz launched an online university in 2017, WozU. Steve Wozniak stated that the goal of WozU “is to educate and train people in employable digital skills without putting them into years of debt.” Steve Wozniak recognizes the injustice of post-secondary education institutes in the USA of putting people in enormous debt. Woz disagrees with the norm of very expensive higher education. He turned this injustice into a justice by creating Woz University which costs less than half of the average tuition of the other universities in the United States. Woz U has enabled people to reach their full potential by making an institution that allows people to receive an above par post-secondary education at an affordable cost. Steve Wozniak also stated: “People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can’t do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how.” This statement shows that Steve Wozniak believes in the bettering of people and their development. Due to this, Steve Wozniak demonstrates the Catholic Social Justice Principle of Common Good. He created a social condition that permits people to reach their full potential and allows for the social well- being/ development of a group of people.


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