Sending in the clown to aid Manchester victims

Professor Dan Engelhard says the medical clowns.can make an “extraordinary impact”


An Israeli “medical clown” trained to help victims of terror will be in Manchester next week to visit some of the young people injured in the recent Manchester Arena attack.

Known as DuSH, David Barashi is the head medical clown at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital. Since 2002, Hadassah has progressed the idea from entertaining young patients to an integrated professional therapy service.

The clowns are often present before and after surgery and deal with a wide range of medical issues.

“In Israel I’ve met a lot of people after terror attacks or during wars,” DuSH told the JC.

“I just come to share a positive moment with them, not to talk about the trauma or the reason why they are in hospital. I connect with their healthy side, which empowers them.”

Training involves medical know-how, with Haifa University now offering a degree course in medical clowning.

“They are integrated into medical teams so doctors and nurses define what they do,” said Mark Addleman, executive director of Hadassah UK, which has organised DuSH’s visit. “They are professionals. They also help with adult patients.”

Medical clowns have worked successfully with patients undergoing fertility treatment and renal dialysis.

More than 100 now work across 29 Israeli hospitals, dealing with a wide range of conditions and injuries. DuSH is among those who travel overseas.

He was part of an IDF emergency response team in Nepal after the devastating 2015 earthquake which killed almost 9,000 people and injured thousands more. He was also part of the Israeli outreach team supporting victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

DuSH will be in Manchester as part of a 10-day visit during which he will also conduct training sessions for British hospitals and speak at meetings of synagogues and communal organisations.

Professor Dan Engelhard, head of paediatrics at Hadassah, spoke of the “extraordinary impact” made by the medical clowns. “They help acutely ill children lose their fear of hospitalisation and treatments, opening the way for the medical staff.”

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