Q I saw the movie Patch Adams again recently. It made me wonder: Where is the real-life doctor today on whom the film was based? Did he ever get his free hospital up and running?
—Jean Rexford, Crescent City, Calif.
Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams, 51, is based in Arlington, Va., where he continues to promote alternative health care with the Gesundheit! Institute, which he founded in 1972, and takes frequent trips with "volunteer clowns" to bring smiles and laughter to places of suffering around the world. A native of Washington, D.C., Adams and his laughter-is-the-best-medicine approach were dramatized by Robin Williams in the 1998 movie Patch Adams. The free, holistic-care "silly" hospital that his movie character dreamed about has not yet become a reality, but it's in the planning stages and targeted for a 310-acre rural area that Adams' institute owns in West Virginia.