Clowns Reduce Pre-Surgery Anxiety in Children Who Are Clearly Not Paying Attention

Josh Clark

There are a few things I definitely wouldn't want to be the last thing I saw before I went under general anesthesia for an operation. I would say seeing Satan muttering behind his hand to his minions who then look at me and laugh scoffingly would really suck, especially if Satan says "See you soon," real casually as I am wheeled past on a gurney and I say, "What did you say?" and he says, "Nothing, nothing." I wouldn't like that at all. I would also not want to see my surgeon polishing off a fifth of anything or injecting himself with anything either. Probably most of all, when being brought to the verge of brain death by an anesthetist, I would not want to see a clown. John Wayne Gacy was a clown. There are sad hobo clowns and hobos are known to stab their fellow passengers on boxcars. One can only imagine sad hobo clowns engage in much the same behavior. Even without overt murderousness, clowns are fundamentally unsettling. What do you have to hide, clown? What have you done that you need to hide your face?! No, I would not want to see a clown before I was gassed and put under the knife.

It turns out that some kids like to see clowns before they enter the operating room. I know this because of a study out of Tel Aviv University (thanks for the link, LOML) that examined the effects of clowns on pre-operation anxiety in children ages 3 to 8. The kids were split up into three groups, including a control group who were completely hosed and didn't receive any kind of anti-anxiety measures before their operation. Another group received a dose of midazolam, an anti-anxiety sedative. The third group (clearly lacking parents or a legal guardian of any sort) were exposed to a medically-trained clown before surgery.

The researchers found that reported pre-operation anxiety levels were highest among the control group. Not a big surprise, but they also found that the anxiety levels were about the same among kids who'd been drugged as is normal and the third group, which I've now dubbed Kids Who Are Unaware When Danger Surrounds Them. So now hospitals can now stop paying exorbitant prices for midazolam charged by Big Pharma and instead expand their funding for clowns. Even with the kickbacks extorted by the clown labor organizations (run by sad hobo clowns), hospitals will probably still save a lot of money.

The point is there are people out there who are unafraid of clowns and I don't understand them. What's more, there are organizations that certify medically-trained clowns, like Camp Simcha in the UK where clowns are trained to make balloon animals and spin plates without pulling a single IV tube from a patient's arm. Anyone who saw Patch Adams knows this simply doesn't work. And yet, Tel Aviv University has given us the proof. Nothing makes sense to me anymore.

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