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fighting Santa William Flannery has spent years entertaining Healthcare professionals on a variety of topics from The Perils of Visine to the horrors of health insurance he has a passion for
bringing humor to health care please welcome Dr will flattery [Music]
thank you thank you thank you before I begin we have a lot of residents and fellows at this conference so I thought I'd start by giving you the most important advice you will ever hear
when you get out into practice find a Jonathan trust me whatever it takes you find a Jonathan it's going to change your life now some of you may this may be confusing to some of you
this is my loyal scribe Jonathan well it's me dressed as a scribe that I play at the fictional hospital I've created on social media you know what if you've never seen my content some of what you might hear today won't make sense to you
just going to warn you now the other thing I want to say to the residents is when you come to conferences like this you're going to hear all these famous ophthalmologists talk about all the incredible things that they do and it's
going to give you imposter syndrome it's going to happen all right I've been there so when you have that feeling come out you feel like you don't belong or at least you're not good enough just to remember
nobody at this conference knows how to use a stethoscope foreign it's an honor to be up here it's an honor to be able to share this stage with so many ophthalmologists that I've looked up to over the years
ophthalmologists like Warren Hill you may not remember we've actually met once before it was at the cataract surgery telling it like it is conference down in Florida back in 2017. I was a resident
I look behind me I see Warren Hill he's sitting back there he's at a table all by himself he has a laptop he has legal pads out I'm sure he was doing eyeball calculations I went up to you I introduced myself and I asked you a question I said Dr
Hill what is the one piece of advice you would give to an Ophthalmology resident to have a successful career in Ophthalmology and you said something very interesting very profound to me you said
spend as much of your free time as possible making tick tocks foreign surprising a bit coming from you Dr Hill obviously he didn't say that Tick Tock
wasn't even an existence I didn't even ask that question that would have been the smart thing to ask no what I did I introduced myself I I said Dr Hill uh um would you write down your favorite
iol formula and sign it that's really what I asked him the first time I met Warren Hill and first he looked at me for a couple seconds like I was crazy and then he wrote down
www.rbfcalculator.com it's very unbranded and they handed me the paper I said Thank you and I walked away the whole thing lasted 10 seconds
that was my interaction with Warren Hill so if any of you want any networking advice please like feel free to ask me I clearly know what I'm doing you know you know I don't even know where that paper is that's the thing
like it really wasn't it wasn't that important to me I don't know my files somewhere at home another ophthalmologist I look up to Dr icomed after I comments here at this conference
this weekend and uh I haven't I got them at a related story so by virtue of what I do on social media I get a lot of emails from people who have ideas for skits they think that I should film now for the most part
they're not good occasionally though I do get a good idea so about a year and a half ago one of my comments fellows got in touch with me said he had a a case he was presenting at a conference a challenging case
they asked if I could help him provide a little levity to the situation he said okay it won't tell me the case he did a torque lens with Dr Ahmed patient came back post-op day one the lens had rotated 90 degrees
the fellow was thinking great gotta go back to the operating I got him and said no we're going to fix this right here at the slit Lane which is what they did they rotated at the slit land back into the right
orientation so I heard the story I was like okay I think I can do something I made the video unfortunately one of the waves of the pandemic hit the fella wasn't able to go to the conference so I've just been sitting on this video I can't put it on social media no one
would get it and but I have all of you here who will appreciate it so let's do it here's I commented as Philip well sir your cataract surgery went well okay that's good but the
reason your vision's blurry is because I put your Torah glands in at the wrong axis oh that doesn't sound good well no but we're going to fix it for you okay how do you fix it well we have to go back into the eye and Orient the lens
correctly oh okay so we just go back to the operating room oh no I can do it right now here at the slit lamp what was that yeah you just sit right there I'll just move the lens around inside your eye
sitting in this chair yeah okay by the way who's that guy oh that's Dr icon yes he's one of the best eye surgeons in
the world sure laughs I think I nailed it thank you thank you [Applause]
all right so titled my talk just laugh it off because I've been very fortunate to be able to combine two things I'm very passionate about humor and medicine now you may not think that those two things go well together no one's really thought to themselves
you know what we really need a comedian ophthalmologist but during this talk I want to tell you how important it is for us as Physicians to have a sense of humor and to use humor in our daily lives and our
interactions with each other with our patients and just for ourselves and coping with some of the stresses some of the things that we have to deal with in medicine I'm going to talk about my life some of the challenges that I've been through how I've used humor to get through those
challenges I've turned into this thing I'm doing now this block and plugging business and why social media is so important for healthcare Professionals for Physicians
so this is where I started doing comedy I was 17 years old I was doing stand-up in Houston Texas as an old photo because livestock's no longer there as a victim of the pandemic it's now a restaurant I think that that window where they don't
have a pointer but there's a window right there by the door where I would go to sign up for an open mic and then the alley right next to it that's where I would go to smoke weed and I spent a lot of time at this at
this Comedy Club it was a lot of fun at some point though I made a decision I had to decide do I want to do this for a career so I was I'm not great but I was you know I was I got some laughs and I just remember seeing all the 30 40
50 year olds at the comedy club who are amateurs who were still trying to make it still trying to make a living doing comedy I remember thinking seems really hard I don't think I can do this so I went the much easier route of
becoming a doctor but I continued doing comedy through college and into med school this is me at Dartmouth at my white coat ceremony with my wonderful wife the only reason I show you this photo is to point out obviously the most
beautiful aspect of it my hair nine the Envy of every 90 year old lady who comes into my clinic not now I cut it all off but it doesn't quite grow like that anymore unfortunately I still have most of them
and um I was doing comedy stand-up comedy the first couple years in med school and I was actually getting pretty good at it I was making a little money on the side I was doing these comedy competitions they were misspelling my name on the on the social materials and
all the wonderful things and the type of Comedy I was doing was medical company this is my first foray into combining humor in medicine and the reason it works so well is because of
these words by this philosopher and Ted Cohn he said joking helps us acknowledge and integrate painful absurdities there's no better definition of painful absurdity than like the first two years of med school you're learning all these
crazy things is it the Krebs cycle coagulation Cascade how to stick your finger in a rectum and feel a prostate like think about it objectively that's a weird thing to learn how to do
and what I started realizing was that humor and medicine it's a perfect match for each other there's so much material there that you can use and then third year med school came around
I uh I got away from Comedy because I was busy it was my wife and I had a kid we had a I was in clinical rotations and I woke up one morning toward the end of my third year and I felt a lump in my testicle
I was just a med student I didn't know a lot about medicine but I knew my testicle wasn't supposed to try to grow another testicle something was off I went and got checked out sure enough
cancer when you receive a diagnosis of cancer in your 20s it's like someone pulled the rug out from underneath you because up until that point in life you have this feeling of invincibility you can do anything
nothing's going to hurt you and then you have this diagnosis that you associate with people three times older than you you go to oncology waiting rooms you look around you see people in their 70s and 80s you don't see anybody your age
it's a very lonely very isolating experience physically I was fine as we all know just to kill a cancer if caught early enough imminently treatable I had surgery I was fine I was cancer-free
emotionally mentally it was just a big hurdle to get over I had to deal with that I did it the best way I knew how I've always done it which is through humor I got back into comedy I felt this urge
get back out there start doing stand up again and the reason it works so well for me Sigmund Freud for all his sets of crazy things okay but he had some interesting things to say about humor and joking he
said joking serves the function of overcoming internal and external obstacles when we're faced with something in life whether you get sick a family member gets sick
an accident something unforeseen we feel like control over our own lives is taken away from us and what humor does is you can take that thing
rearrange it add humor to it deal with it the way you want to deal with it present it to others and have them laugh with you about it you are reasserting your control over that situation
when the world's spinning it feels like it stops the spinning and um and that's why it's such an effective coping mechanism using humor that's what I was doing because for me personally if I don't
turn it into a joke it's going to destroy me that's how I feel I've always dealt with difficult situations in my life like that so I finished that school went on to residency at the University of Iowa
I I trained under the tutelage of Dr Tom oding I think he's here somewhere and um everything was going great in my third year of residency I woke up one morning I felt a lump in my other
testicle turns out I was part of the lucky one to two percent of people with testicular cancer who get it in the other testicle I'm really good at finding my own testicular cancer
I I could make another career out of this I could just be an ophthalmologist who finds testicular cancer weird thing to do it's all balls though you guys it's really it's just it's all about us
the second time around though was much more devastating because we had a lot of I had a lot of questions I had to answer you know we had two kids at that point were we done having kids I was facing the prospect of losing my other testicle which I ended up ultimately having to do
so what do we do do I Bank sperm do you want to know what a really weird thing is is to bank sperm at your place of work a bit of a surreal feeling
to like leave Clinic go like over the other the hospital and make sperm if you have if you're ever in that situation I recommend that you just take the day off just
don't work that day I'm not going to make a tick tock about that I promise but all these other things you know what about hormone replacement therapy how much is all this going to cost do I have to postpone residency I got to do a lot
of student loans I had to pay back all these questions I had to figure out and I couldn't understand them I couldn't go out and tell jokes this time because two reasons I was in residency I was very busy also I was in Iowa
not exactly a comedy hotbed hahaha and so I turned to social media a friend of mine got me on to Twitter said you should try this out it's great you can tell jokes
um it's uh you can develop an audience make people laugh so I checked it out I was like well what am I going to call myself because I knew this was going to be a comedy account it's a medicine company because there's not a lot of people who are doing this type of thing so like okay what's the
funniest word in Ophthalmology it was either Dr glaucompletkin or Dr pseudo fakodenesis that was a little much I went with the much easier to pronounce Glock and flecken and what the thing is now that
people actually think my name is Dr glocken flecken like I I like people actually call my office asking to make an appointment with Dr glockens so I've run into some issues but dealing
with it and it was just a few days after I started this social media account that I went to a conference and I really started telling jokes it was arvo
you ever been to arvo boring as hell I know what I was doing there I mean I ended up going into private practice and just looking at an Excel spreadsheet
makes me want to throw up a little bit I'm not a research oriented person so I was using arva as a place to just try out jokes and I guess I was telling very painfully specific Ophthalmology jokes to like an audience of four people
I'm going to show you one of these early jokes okay like this is here we go I'm just going to show it to you jerusal researcher it's called another Jersey researcher of pseudo druzen
researcher hashtag Argo funds foreign I show you this just to point out like the more you do something the better you're gonna get at it okay but you know what I was thrilled to get
those five likes we all start somewhere and honestly that's we all start somewhere but what being on social media taught me was the power of social media for
doctors for Health Care Professionals because there's a lot that we do outside of patient care so let's take advocacy this is when I try to convince you that you should have a social media presence Okay so
my approach to advocacy on social media really is summed up by this quote from Mark Twain so the human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter what I've learned in doing this this has been an evolving process of
trial and error is figuring out that if you frame your advocacy through a lens of humor two things are going to happen more people are going to listen to read what you have to say watch what you
put out there because it's engaging it's interesting people like to laugh then you trick them by putting advocacy in there that's what I like to do but also what humor does with advocacy
is it softens the edges because a lot of things we advocate for things issues with patient care vaccines they're controversial subjects and so if I by putting humor around it
you're not going to get as many people being really mad at you're still going to get a lot of people that are very angry with you but it's it's not going to be quite as people can be more open to conversation you frame it with humor
and I'll give you an example of some advocacy that I that I have been doing recently over the past year and I'll give you a little background on this now if you thought maybe
having cancer twice before the age of 30 is like enough like no more like that's okay you've had your quota for like health issues there's more
I had myself a little Cardiac Arrest issue back in 2020. so I talked about this on social media and um basically I had a cardiac arrest and I just don't know why but it happened in the middle of the night my wife woke up she did 10
minutes of chest impressions save my life it's like a whole talk and and I the the one outcome that you can imagine I never I don't win any more arguments anymore
when that happens she would say that I never won any arguments in the first place that's Up For Debate but what I learned through that whole process through that event is that the physical recovery
from a cardiac arrest is so much easier than fighting with insurance what we do to patients we as the Health Care system is Criminal
with regard to Insurance the Hoops we make people go through they people can't figure it out it's impossible it's complicated and take advantage of patients through health insurance and so I've done a lot of content based
around health insurance and trying to show people look at now so when when Aetna decided that they were going to start requiring prior authorization for every single cataract surgery just like all of
you I was pissed right I also thought oh this is perfect I could make a video about this this is exactly in my wheelhouse so I have a video it's actually the
inner work I said it's video of the higher ups at Aetna at their headquarters coming up with this idea to require prior authorizations for cataract surgery okay
there we go hey jimothy yeah boss what's up why are we spending so much money on cataract surgery it's a really common surgery well can we not do that
not cover cataract surgery yeah no people need to be able to see well can we do that thing where we get to practice medicine with with prior authorizations yeah yeah what
if we require prior authorizations for every cataract surgery do you have any idea how many cataract surgeries there are every year I don't know like a hundred four million this
would be a huge burden on patients and doctors won't care you're forcing eye doctors to ask a room full of business majors for permission to do eye surgery
I think they'll care why I don't want to alarm you but I went through our finances last year okay so I was thinking if we can just delay all the cataract surgeries for a
few months we can hold on to all the patient premium and make more money can we just for one day not be evil there's anything you knew
what you signed up for when you started working here not evil it's literally our mission statement see so what happens when we keep denying cataract surgery for an 80 year old she
can't see she trips falls breaks her hip now we're paying for hip surgery and cataract surgery that's actually a good point thank you we need to require prior authorization [Applause]
[Music] so you can really reach a lot of people if you bring a little humor into things you advocate for the other thing that we're really good at is ophthalmologists as doctors is education we love that's why we're all
here we love to educate we love to learn and I'm just going to put a plug for something here now like all of you have a different technique for suturing a lens like I get it like it's great all
right there's like what like 57 different ways to chop up a lens and there's like I think probably 10 new ones that are being like shown at this conference this year but outside of what
we do within Ophthalmology all the incredible things that we do here there's a whole world of people doing crazy things to their eyeballs and so if if you'll just indulge me here
like if if I could get some help on social media with some of these things um like people putting makeup directly on their eyeball they got eyeball tattoos we got people pouring vodka directly onto their eye and you know
it's not wearing safety glasses while grinding metal this is what any times the problem with what I do is that anytime someone does something stupid on social media I'm gonna hear about it
and this is like my mentions on Tick Tock and all over just all kinds of stuff like this so if anybody wants to come and help me out on social media and try to educate people not to do these types of things I really appreciate it I
didn't even put the urine eye drops in here these are the ones that are safe for a conference that I'll show all right and the last thing I want to talk about is using social media as a form of
self-expression this is what I see a lot of trainees a lot of pre-meds Med students residents coming onto social media the next generation of doctors and they're doing a lot of this they're showing who
they are they're expressing themselves talking about their daily lives their struggles on social media and I love to see that we need more of that because for a long time there's been this idea that you can't show who
you are as a doctor because it sacrifices your professionalism that needs to go away because there's one thing I've learned as a patient is that I want my doctor to seem like a
real person that has things that normal human emotions things that make them laugh or cry or feel you know excited or angry
I want them to seem normal seem like me so I can relate to them and we need to be out there in front of the public whether social media or elsewhere
talking about these things so that people know that doctors are just like them we're just we're normal people we have we make mistakes it doesn't sacrifice your professionalism it's really important that we do that
that's why I encourage all of you to be out there talk about these things talk about your emotions talk about the things that you're going through in medicine prior authorizations all these things it's really important for the public to
see us as fallible as real human beings now we have to maintain a level of professionals and because we have a very unique role in society people we have their lives their eyes and our hands
and and so we do have a level of professionalism that we need to maintain but it should not come at the expense of being able to show who we are and express ourselves on social media and the last thing thank you everybody
for coming to an emergency the last thing I want to say is I'll just give you one more tip for being on social media and using humor because I'm really big on that um
if you're ever not sure how to address the topic what you should do and one thing that's always safe to do is use self-deprecating you right I do this all the time I've done a lot today talking with you all right it's always safe you're not going
to get yourself into trouble and it's really effective at endearing yourself to an audience right and so I did this a lot at the beginning of the pandemic because there were a few times where doc
when doctors were being redeployed in different parts of the hospital there were some Ophthalmology residents maybe some of you here that had to go into like the inpatient Awards and see patients and so me being a comedian
optimized I thought well this is kind of funny like the idea of me going into the ICU to practice Critical Care Medicine I thought that was very funny so I made a video about it
that got that was very popular and that I called the critical care ophthalmologist okay so I'll leave you with this thank you everybody for coming to an emergency faculty meeting today due to the high volume of unvaccinated people
admitted to the hospital we find ourselves extremely short staffed dude I am burned out I can't keep working like this yeah we can't keep up we need a break listen I know all of you are burned out it's not just family medicine anymore
that's why we're bringing someone in to help in the ICU oh thank God another critical care doctor um [Music] not exactly well then who good afternoon
my fellow hospital-based doctors the ophthalmologist and my loyal scribe Jonathan what you can't be serious this must be some kind of joke Hail Mary full of grace the Lord I mean he doesn't even
know anything about Critical Care Medicine oh come on keep the Heart full of blood keep the lung full of air you know there's two lungs right listen there are no more critical care
doctors okay this is our only option there has to be somebody else there's nobody you think I haven't tried now our new a critical care ophthalmologist will be starting on Saturday wait a minute what
it is you'll also be scheduled to help out over the holidays Jonathan and you'll need to cover a few night shifts every month you'll be sick so thank you all
thank you thank you for your attention hope you have a wonderful rest of the topics thanks again [Music] [Applause] [Applause]
[Music] [Music] [Applause] thank you will that was great
we have a Q
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