Episode #31: What I learned working with the World's top neurosurgeons

Published: August 25, 2020


Show Notes:

Speaker 1: (00:00)
What's going on innovators. Welcome to the simplified integration podcast. This is episode number 31. What I learned working alongside the world's top neurosurgeons, Leonardo da Vinci once said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And I agree you see the problem with the way that most consulting groups approach medical integration is anything but simple. In fact, it's the exact opposite. It's expensive, it's complicated. And quite frankly, it's exhausting enough is enough. There are far too many amazing integrated clinics that are struggling. I'm on a mission to change that when I've come to find from over five years, working with integrative practices, is that simplicity really is the secret feel saying of less is more, is true through a streamlined approach. I was able to create multiple successful seven-figure integrated clinics. And now I'm going to show you how you can do the same. Join me as I share with you the secrets to successful medical integration and practice growth. Join me on a journey to greater sophistication through innovation. I'm dr. Andrew Wells and welcome to the simplified integration podcast.

Speaker 1: (01:11)
What's going on guys. Welcome back. It's great to have you here on the podcast. My name is dr. Wells hope you're having a great day today. So before I became a chiropractor, I had a really cool job when I was 25 years old, I worked for a company called brain lab. And my job with brain lab was to go around the country and around the world and work with some of the top neurosurgeons and helping them integrate a cutting edge technology that this company made. So we made a equipment called neurosurgical navigation and what the equipment allowed us to do in the operating room was make a tumor resections and biopsies brain biopsies and brain surgery, a lot safer and a lot easier for the patient and for the surgeon. So the equipment that we were using was very cutting edge. It was extremely expensive.

Speaker 1: (01:56)
And most of the doctors who are using this were in like your top notch facility. So they were in teaching institutions. Um, these were not like your local, uh, neurosurgery centers. And so because of the level of technology we were working with and because of the cost of the equipment, I got to work with a very, very, uh, elite group of doctors. Now, when you're working with neurosurgeons, they are sort of like the doctor's doctor, like you to become a neurosurgeon. It's incredibly competitive. You have to be incredibly brilliant and talented, and it's a very tough gig to get. And so these doctors I was working with and imagine I'm a 25 year old, like little kid out of college, um, didn't know much about the world at all, but here I was working in the operating room, literally shoulder to shoulder with these neurosurgeon neurosurgeons and helping them implement this technology into their, into their surgical practice.

Speaker 1: (02:50)
And I got to see some wild stuff. Uh, I remember the first time I saw brain surgery, you know, I walked in, this was part of my training. I walked in the operating room and the doctor knew it was my first surgery. And, you know, he, uh, was taking a, to removing a tumor from the patient's brain. And he, I remember the first time he took the, the skull off part of the skull off. And he had, you know, he had drilled in using like what looked like a power drill from home Depot drilled into the patient's skull, remove the skull cap. And here is he's like, Andrew, check this out, look at the brain, see it, see it pulsing. And you could see, like, I could see the brain, it looked just like it was wild and you could see it like pulsing with every heartbeat.

Speaker 1: (03:29)
And it was like, it was trippy and really cool to see. And so that was my job for, uh, for a number of years, I went around the country and worked with doctors in the operating room and I learned a lot. And so I noticed some patterns over time and, you know, these patients would have cancer, they'd had tumors and I was always really curious, uh, about, um, why the patient got sick and how they ended up having a tumor and what, you know, what the outcome was going to be and what they're actually going to do in the surgery. And, uh, some of these surgeries lasted a long time and they were really boring and sometimes like, there's a lot of standing around for me. Um, and so I remember particularly working with a doctor, um, outside of Chicago and really bright guy. Uh, they had imported this doctor from Israel, um, like super young, very charismatic, sharp, uh, neurosurgeon.

Speaker 1: (04:23)
And I, you know, I worked with him for about a month and I had a lot of conversations with him in and out of the operating room and always wanted to know like, why, like, why did this patient get sick? Why do they have a brain tumor what's going to happen to them? And he'd always say the same thing. He was like, well, we don't know where it came from. Um, probably a bunch of different reasons, but, uh, that's not my concern. My concern is that I need to take this tumor out and keep the patient alive. And then I'd ask, well, what's going to, you know, what's going to happen to the patient. And it, um, you know, especially for certain types of brain tumors and cancer, it was oftentimes really grim. And this doctor would usually tell me, well, you know, we're, you know, we're giving him about six months to live.

Speaker 1: (05:01)
Um, they'll likely have to have another brain surgery, but we don't anticipate that this patient's gonna live for very long. So my question was always, well, why are you doing this major surgery if they're not going to live anyway? And he said, well, maybe we can give them another few months. And maybe if they're really lucky, another extra couple of years of life and maybe give them use of their hands again, or maybe because of the tumor was pressing against the speech center, they couldn't talk. So we could give them the, you know, removing the tumor would help the patient speak again. So there was a quality of life aspect to it, but

Speaker 2: (05:30)

Speaker 1: (05:33)
For a lot of these patients, the outcome was really bad. And my thought going into this job was I'll be working with this amazing surgeons and they're going to be performing these miracles and the patient's going to be healthy again. And they're going to remove the tumor and get the patient well, and they'll live, you know, live happily ever after. But what I realized in a lot of cases that we saw as these patients were terminally ill. And when they, when they got the point of seeing these surgeons, usually it was too late. Like they were too far gone and we saw some pretty cool miracles, but for the most case, it was a pretty somber place because we were dealing with terminally ill patients. And it caught me thinking like, so I'm working with some of the top, like the most talented doctors in the world yet they could do very little for the patient.

Speaker 1: (06:20)
And that always like that always disturbed me. And that made me feel really sad because it's like, well, if they're, if these doctors are so great at what they do, why can't they do get the best outcomes for the patients? And I asked the doctor, this, this doctor I worked with in Chicago. I said, well, you know, you're performing these surgeries, but it sounds like not these patients aren't going to do really well. And they pay you millions of dollars a year. This, this doctor was very, very into what he did. And sometimes he slept at the hospital to take on cases and people that needed help. Like he was very dedicated to his work, but he was also very honest. And that, you know, if you, if you're seeing me, if you're, if you're going under my knife, your chances are it's too late for you. And so I asked him like, why are you doing these surgeries? Like, why do they pay you millions of dollars? Why is the insurance company going to pay $200,000 for a procedure that's going to end eventually in the death of the patient, in the near future. And

Speaker 3: (07:15)
Like, so w so I kept asking him

Speaker 1: (07:18)
These questions over and over again. You know, he initially would just kind of shrug off the questions. And I remember finally, one day I'm asking these questions during surgery. And he, I remember he looked up, he looked up at me, which he never did. And it's got a cauterizing tool in one hand and a little sucker tool in the other. And he said, Andrew, he goes, this patient has cancer. Do you really think I can fix the patient with these tools that I'm holding in my hand, a cutter and a sucker. Do you think that's going to make the patient healthy again? And I said, no. He goes, you're absolutely right. He goes, you can't cut a person back into health. And that's what I do. My job is to remove the tumor, help them stay alive as long as possible. But after that, it's, you know, it's up to them.

Speaker 1: (08:02)
And I was very shocked by that. And I remember after the surgery, I'm like, listen, like, is there really nothing else you can do for the patient? And he looked at me and he said, Andrew, listen. He goes, these people who end up on our table, they have trashed for the most part, had trashed their health, their whole life. He goes, this is offended me as a man, as an American, he goes, you Americans eat fast food. You're stressed out. You work too hard. You smoke, you drink, you don't, you don't exercise. And you wonder why you lose your health. And for some reason, patients come into my operating room and expect that I'm going to give them back their health. After they've destroyed their body for there for an entire lifetime, it doesn't work that way. And he didn't, he knew a little bit about me and my family.

Speaker 1: (08:46)
Like I told him my family, I come from a really unhealthy family. And he, I remember him telling me, he goes, Andrew, if you, if you live the same way your parents lived and the people around living or living the way most Americans are living, you're going to end up if not on my table, somebody else's table being operated on, is that what you want? And I said, no. And he goes, he goes to use this as a learning lesson live differently than Americans. If you don't want to end up on my operating table. And I'm like, man, that's that made so much sense. And so he, this guy totally blew my world, rocked my world. And I'm like, man, this is, this is nuts. So at the peak of our healthcare system, I realized that we have very few options for patients. And so I went home that night and I thought a lot about what the surgeon had told me.

Speaker 1: (09:32)
And I started researching what health was, where health came from. You know, my, my thought was, well, health is just genetic either. You're you have good genes or you have bad genes. And that's the way you're, you know, you're, you're doomed to have heart failure or doomed to have cancer, or you're blessed to live a hundred years to live to a hundred without any sickness or disease. And I realized, and just doing my own, um, you know, Google research that health had was a lot more to do than your, a lot more to do with your genetics. At one point, I remember like researching this stuff for like two, three in the morning, and I kept scrolling through, you know, different pages and different pages and different threads. And finally, I ended up on this website and it said that, um, this there's this quote that said, um, you know, the greatest doctor is, is within you.

Speaker 1: (10:19)
And you have all of the tools that you need for your body to be healthy. You just need to, to remove interference and to give your body what it needs to thrive. And you'll be healthy. I'm like, well, that makes a whole lot of sense. Like, what is this website? And I realized that I'd fallen on a chiropractic website. And at the time I thought chiropractors are quacks. I'm like chiropractic. Like this makes no sense. And then, so I went back to where I was, I was still working with a surgeon and I said, well, what do you think about the chiropractic notion that your body will work just fine, as long as you don't interfere with it. And he looks at me, I'm like, I'm like, do you believe in chiropractic? And he looks at me and goes, he goes, they're dead. Right? He goes, you just need, you just got to stop trashing your body and give it what it needs to be healthy.

Speaker 1: (11:00)
They're a hundred percent correct. And he goes, in fact, if more people saw chiropractors, less people would be on my table. And I'm like, well, aren't chiropractors quacks. He goes, no, he goes, it makes perfect sense. And they're, they're actually teaching true health. And I'm like, wow. So this guy was from Israel. Like, how does he know this stuff? But he's like, yeah, more, more people should use chiropractic care, um, in order to be healthy. And so I latched onto this idea. I latched onto this philosophy and I'm like, man, so chiropractor, I did some research on chiropractic. I went, uh, one of my best friends visited a chiropractor. I thought he was dumb for doing it. I thought I always told him he was wasting his money going to a chiropractor. So, you know, being curious, I went with him one day and, and I talked to his chiropractor and everything.

Speaker 1: (11:43)
He said made complete sense. And he showed me what chiropractic was and how it worked and how it affected health and how it kept people from being sick and being diseased. And I'm like this complete sense. And so three days later, I quit my job. I enrolled in chiropractic school and the rest was history. And so I'm telling you guys this, because, um, sometimes, you know, I get flack as a chiropractor for running medical offices. Um, like, like somehow I've sold out on chiropractic and all this nonsense, but, um, I'm a, you know, a firm advocate of chiropractic. I know the benefits it's helped me out tremendously. I've helped thousands and thousands of patients get healthy through chiropractic care. So I know the value there. However, there's also value in the medical world and what we try to do with integration as we try to merge the two in a way that makes sense for chiropractors, but also makes sense from a medical standpoint.

Speaker 1: (12:37)
And so there's a, you know, I always thought it would be great if you could somehow merge these two worlds in a way that was beneficial for the patient. And it doesn't have to be so black and white, where over here, you have your chiropractor's and over here you have the medical doctors and they can't ever share patients. It's, it's a two diverging, uh, philosophies and it, it, it can't ever coexist. Well, the reality is, is that in almost every area of life, there are shades of gray and there's complimentary crossover between the two and I'm living in a world. And I see a world where chiropractors and medical practitioners actually work really well together. When you drop the ego and drop the, you know, these preconceived notions we have about chiropractic and medicine, you actually find out that we actually want the best things for our patients.

Speaker 1: (13:23)
And if you're, if you decide to integrate your office and medically integrate, that doesn't mean you have to prescribe medications or give cortisone injections or refer to surgery right away. There's a way to help patients in a conservative way. So, anyway, doc, I hope you found this topic. Uh, interesting. You know, I really had a really amazing, um, an interesting career before I got into chiropractic and I actually found chiropractic through neurosurgery, believe it or not. And so there are a lot of really key lessons I learned from my time with working with some of the best neurosurgeons in the world. Um, not only was it really fascinating, but it taught me a lot about what health is, but more importantly, what health is not. And so we really, we owe it to ourselves as doctors to help our patients avoid those types of those types of scenarios and to help them avoid all the pitfalls of, of modern medicine.

Speaker 1: (14:13)
And there are a lot of them. And so our job is to keep, uh, educate our patients and keep our patients from ever getting to that point. And so, um, thank you so much for, uh, for tuning in today to the podcasts. Uh, I hope you learned something from this, uh, or at least maybe have a different perspective on our healthcare system or chiropractic the amazing work that we do as chiropractors and, uh, anyway. Great to have you out here today. I'll see you on the next podcast episode. Have a great day. Bye bye. Hey innovators. Thanks for listening to the simplified integration podcast. The fact that you're listening tells me that you're like me, someone who loves simplicity and the truth is those who embrace simplicity are some of the innovators. So hope you got a ton of value from what we covered on today's episode, be sure to subscribe and share with other docs that you feel could benefit from greater sophistication through simplification and innovation. If you've got specific questions that you'd like answered on this podcast, or you've got specific topics that you'd like me to discuss, just shoot me an email at info@simplifiedintegration.com that's info@simplifiedintegration.com.

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