In school, Patch is a smart and gifted student who wants not so much to get the medical terminology and textbook knowledge but to get to the heart of healing: touching others, wanting to help the patients via humor. Patch begins interacting with patients at the university hospital, even though students are not supposed to see patients until their third year of schooling. Putting on a clown's nose and other funny disguises, he brings fun and laughter into the children's ward and surprises into the dull and boring routines of older patients. He even manages to reach a terminally ill cancer patient named Bill who is terrified of death. The head nurse believes in what he is doing and works along with him.
Dean Walcott however, is not impressed; he is not even amused. He wants to force Patch to follow the rules, even if it means kicking him out of school. His highly critical roommate Mitch, who is under enormous pressure to succeed, believes that Patch is a clown who has no business being in medical school among the “real” students. As the film progresses, Patch decides to continue his dream while Dean Walcott fights to have him thrown out of school. Carin, and Truman joins Patch in the establishment of a free clinic whom he calls Gesundheit, where they can practice the powerful medicine of alternative healing based on love, where in patient helps and treat one another. As the movie continues, in a tragic turn of events, Patch was challenged by the death of Carin at the hands of a patient named Larry whom they were treating at their unauthorized clinic.
It's at this part of the movie, Patch is once again confronted with depression and a crisis which brings him to questioning whether what he is doing is worth doing and whether there is a God and whether God cares or not. In this scene Patch, emotionally devastated after the loss and blaming himself for the death of Carin decided to quit and goes to a cliff where he confronts God. He talks to God, complaining that on the 7th day of Creation God rested, when He should have used that day for compassion. Then, Patch looks down off the cliff and say, "I could do it," meaning suicide, "But You're not worth it." he says to God. When Patch turns around and walks away from the cliff, a butterfly is sitting on his medical bag. As he looks at it, it flutters up to him, lands on his chest, then he takes it on his finger and it flies away. It is then that Patch realizes God answered him back and Patch regains the passion he once had before he lost Carin. Patch gets through this episode, not by sheer will or determination, but with the help of his friends--his classmates who, influenced by his approach to life/medical practice, both support and challenge Patch to practice some of his own medicine.
Patch decided he wants to continue his efforts and dreams, however, received a note from Dean Walcott throwing him out of school, which means, of course, he could not graduate in medical school. Examining his grades and status in the university, he found out there are no sufficient grounds against him that can expel from the university the only comment he saw was he has 'excessive happiness'. With this, he pleaded to the medical board to...