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An English version of the famed doctor, Patch Adams, has picked up a magic wand instead of a stethoscope in a bid to improve his patients' health. The 1998 film, starring Robin Williams, told the true story of the American physician who brought comedy into hospitals as a way of treating the sick. GP Ajay Vora shares the opinion that laughter is the best medicine, dedicating the past six years to honing his magic skills.
And the medical magician frequently performs tricks at his surgery, in South Humberside, to help take people's minds of their problems. He has been known to produce bunches of flowers from thin air and stop a watch with a click of his fingers in front of a delighted waiting room. Dr Vora, from Barnetby Medical Centre, said: 'If patients can see their GP as a human being they can smile and joke and it's easier. 'Magic is not just for children's parties, I've never done that. What I do is bring little bits of magic into the surgery to sometimes help patients along with their problems or counselling. 'If people think about something else then their pain will feel less.'
Dr Vora is a member of the Magic Circle, an organisation dedicated to promoting and advancing the art of magic, and in 2007 he took a plane to Hollywood to audition for, and successfully join, an exclusive magic society called the Magic Castle. He has performed in front of hundreds at charity shows and has a catalogue magic tricks in his repertoire. But he is more interested in how magic can help others than in seeking fame.