Dr. Glaucomflecken and Other Healthcare Jokers

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by Ed Tobias |

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This column is being published on April 1. When I was in the journalism profession, that was a day we had to be on guard against pranksters who would try to trick us into reporting phony April Fools’ Day news items.

So, I need to be very clear about this column about Dr. Glaucomflecken.

“Dr. G” doesn’t exist. He’s an invention of Dr. Will Flanary, a 36-year-old ophthalmologist in the Portland, Oregon, area. “Dr. F,” in the persona of “Dr. G,” uses YouTube and other social media channels to hurl a healthy dose of in-your-face comedy at his colleagues and at the healthcare industry in general.

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I think anyone who has spent any time dealing with the medical profession — hasn’t everyone with MS? — will relate to Dr. Glaucomflecken’s video interviews.

Let’s start with one of his biggest viral hits, a video with more than a million views produced after the real Dr. Flanary spent three days in an intensive care unit following a life-threatening episode of ventricular fibrillation:

“It really did kick off with the insurance problems,” Flanary told Stat‘s Damian Garde. “I saw, ‘Oh there’s a big appetite for this. This resonates with a lot of people.’” But browse through his video portfolio and you’ll see caricatures of several types of medical specialists you may recognize, including neurologists.

Patients can be funny, too

You don’t have to be a doctor to be good at making people laugh at illness and at the healthcare system in general. People living with MS also do a good job of that.

For example, Rosani Christy laughs her way through MS by doing stand-up comedy in Toronto. Actually, it’s sit-down comedy, as she wheels into a few comedy venues and performs via Zoom from her bedroom three times a week.

“All I have to do is look presentable from the waist up,” she says, “which is much easier on my caregivers and me.”

Multiple Sclerosis News Today columnist John Connor did a regular comedy show at London’s famous The Comedy Store until his MS forced him out of the clubs and into a chair. Now he writes to share his wit in columns like “Everything You Wanted to Know About Poo, but I Was Afraid to Write,” “The Antibiotic Time Loop-the-Loop,” and his first column, from 2017, “A Mountain to Climb with MS — in My Living Room.”

There’s also MS patient Yvonne deSousa, who asks on her website: “Like, what kind of a medical condition would call its most annoying symptom a hug? Who came up with that?”

And, “What kind of illness actually makes you look much better than you feel, causing those around you to think you are a hypochondriac? And when MS symptoms are visible, they make you look like you’re drunk.”

There’s a lot that people with MS and other illnesses can laugh about, and that’s no April Fools’ joke.

You’re invited to visit and even laugh at my personal blog at www.themswire.com.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Nada Zdrale avatar

Nada Zdrale

Having a sense of sarcasm/humor I believe let’s others know that -I am aware of the progression of physical/mental disabilities and I am attempting to prove that I understand life’s hurdles and root/inspire others to shoot for the moon:)

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Nada,

That's a great attitude. Life's not about hiding from the storm, it's about learning to dance in the rain.



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