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Clowning in hospitals is no joke

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 18 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:792
  1. Caroline Simonds, founder and artistic director (
  1. Le Rire Médecin, Paris

    The 28 members of Le Rire Médecin (Laughing Doctors) have worked closely with hospital medical staff in France since 1991. Twice a week the group holds specially conceived shows for children and their families in paediatric wards in eight hospitals—six in Paris. Each year it performs for more than 30 000 children, a similar number of parents, and more than 60 000 medical personnel.

    The group fills a gap left by other hospital activities carried out by teachers and volunteer workers and provides a vital part of the effort to humanise the care of children.

    To our knowledge the only other groups which perform a similar function are The Big Apple Circus Clown Unit in New York, the Doutores da Alegeria in Brazil, and Die Clownen Doctors in Germany.

    The group fills …

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