COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – No one ever plans to go to a hospital, but for patients at Piedmont Columbus Regional, Humorology Atlanta continues to do what they know best; relieve stress for patients.

The partnership between Humorology Atlanta and Piedmont Columbus Regional created a program that originally started in September 2020 and reopen in 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic, focusing on creating a fun and friendly environment to help relieve patients’ stress and frustration.

Dr. Tinyl, a clown and a supervisor with Humorology Atlanta, shares how the pandemic changed the program and how Humorology Atlanta had to adapt to the necessary changes that the pandemic brought to hospitals across the country.

“We learned how to, for example, I play the harmonica, and you can’t play the harmonica with a mask on,” said Dr. Tiny. “We used to blow a lot of soap bubbles, and you can’t do that with a face mask on, so we pivoted, and we learned to take the wand and just wave the bubbles.”

Often, patients who are housed at Piedmont Columbus Regional are unhappy due to being admitted to the hospital, but Dr. Ok Dookey, another clown with Humorology Atlanta, says that is why he’s there. To make patients stay better during difficult times.

“Relive stress; that’s pretty much what our job is,” said Dr. Dookey. “We take the scary parts where kids are a little nervous about being in the hospital because it is a big strange place to most kids until they’ve come the first time, and we try to make it better and make their situation as comfortable for them as we can.”

Every Thursday, Dr. Tiny, Tim Settimi, who poses as Dr. Ok Dookey, Dr. Squeeze, and several other clowns perform in rotation for children and their families in several departments at the Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown location, including the Pediatric Associates, Pediatric Emergency Department, Children’s Hospital, and the NICU.

The group usually works with 40-50 children on average and their performance includes music, singing songs, miming, and making jokes.

For Dr. Squeeze, using his talents and abilities to bring smiles to the faces of patients enduring stressful situations at the hospital is his ultimate goal, even for patients who may be reluctant at first.

“I can remember a couple of patients for where we were able to go in and especially the teenagers because teenagers are a little too col for themselves sometimes, as many of us as teenagers were. And we can go in and give a little bit of joy and sometimes surprise them,” said Dr. Squeeze. “Because one of the things that I love about especially teenagers is they sometimes think they’re too cool for it. When they realize that they’re not, and they can still laugh and still have a little bit of a kid or a little bit of that child-like joy in them, it’s great to see.”

The clowns also make time to help workers at the hospital.

Dr. Tiny shared a personal experience with a nurse at Piedmont Columbus Regional during the height of the pandemic.

“We are very much aware of how much stress the medical field staff had been under with the pandemic, we had a nurse one time in tears, and I said, ‘I know your job is three times harder now,’ and she said ‘It’s 10 times harder now,” stated Dr. Tiny. “And we sang to her and had her smiling before we left her office.

Through using jokes, music, and abundantly open hearts, Humorology Atlanta Clowns continues to aim to make patients’ stay at Piedmont Columbus Regional manageable.