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Clown doctors bring levity to serious situations

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

Professional performers 'Doctor E.K.' and 'Dr. Mafalda,' members of the Red Noses clown doctors, perform in the pediatric clinic in Novo Mesto, Slovenia on Nov. 7.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor Sfrckljana' performs with a doll in a clinic for infectious diseases in Ljubljana on Nov. 7.

Since 2004 15 clown doctors, inspired by the U.S. Doctor 'Patch' Adams, visit different hospitals throughout Slovenia 2-3 times a week, using laughter to help aid the recovery of young and elderly patients suffering from serious illness or injury.

Editor's note: Reuters made these pictures available to NBC News on Nov. 20.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

Members of the Red Noses clown doctors on Nov. 7.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor E.K.' performs in the pediatric clinic in Novo Mesto, on Nov. 7.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor Obizek Cvilka' and 'Doctor Zena' perform at a home for the elderly in Ljubljana on Nov. 19.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor Mally' dances with a nurse as an elderly patient watches at a care home in Izola, on Nov. 16.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor Zivalski' shows a mirror to an elderly woman as he performs at a care home in Izola, on Nov. 13.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

'Doctor Zen' sings to boys in the hospital for disabled youth in Stara Gora on Nov. 5.

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