Dancing Doctor Surprises Seriously Ill Children Who Haven't Smiled In Days

This doctor is a modern-day Patch Adams - but instead of telling jokes, he's dancing into the hearts of seriously ill patients.

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

As the famous saying goes, 'laughter is the best medicine' - and paediatric neurosurgery physician assistant Tony Adkins seems to agree in spades.

In an attempt to cheer up one seriously ill child post-op, 42-year-old Tony, from Orange County, California, decided to spontaneously break out into dance - and since then, busting a move has developed into a vital part of his treatment.

He insists that smiling and being more interactive is 'more powerful' than some pain medication and now he boogies down with all of his patients at the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). It's no surprise, then, that he's been awarded the nickname 'Dancing Doc'.

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

Hoping to protect the 'magic of childhood' in all of his patients, despite some of their conditions, Tony pledges to continue dancing throughout his medical career.

Also an army veteran, Tony said: "Dancing with patients is important because it adds levity and joy to the hospital experiences.

"What I'm doing is right in with CHOC's commitment to preserving the magic of childhood and ensuring patients don't have to put their childhoods on pause.

"Studies show that when people laugh, smile and become more interactive, the effect on the brain is more powerful than some pain medications.

"It has a clinical value as it allows me to assess a patient's physical abilities, mobility and recovery process.

"I recently had a patient who reluctant to get out of bed after surgery, but when I came in one morning to see him, an invitation to dance got him out of bed and moving.

"After we finished dancing, he kept going and starting doing laps around the hospital floor - it was awesome to see.

"Nurses have told me that when patients get admitted to the unit, they will ask for me specifically.

"I'm not formally trained in dance, but I've always loved music and movement.

"If I can help to instill a love of music and dance in my patients, in addition to improving their outcomes and outlooks, that's a wonderful thing.

"There's nothing better than seeing a smile on my patient's faces or to hear them laugh - it's self-care for me too.

"I will definitely continue to dance with my patients - it's become an integral part of my treatment and care for children.

"Nothing is more important than the health of a child, and I am so lucky to play an integral role in that."

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is a NCTJ qualified journalist from West Cumbria, with a passion for news, features and journalism. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

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