What am I up to?

“Not always this laid back”

“Not always this laid back”

Thank you for asking. I am asked this question so often. This phase may just be a salutation, but I have learned many have a curiosity about my various endeavors. A blog seemed like the best way to answer this question on a regular basis. In addition, this blog provides a means for me to keep track in an organized fashion of what I am up to.

The purpose is to record and relate what I am up to these days. The information will be in one place for recording memoirs and historical events. It will be a place to document the present and consider the future.
I expect to regularly make entries concerning various categories: physician/surgeon; medical research and development; the golf adventures and Life. You may see a recent post or follow the topic that might interest you.

Let me know what you think as this blog will becomes my “Lectronic Legacy” in what ever time remains.


“30 years at the bedside” circa 1980

“30 years at the bedside” circa 1980

In the course of my practice I was one of the pioneers in arthroscopic surgery. This resulted in hundreds of surgeon visitors, such that Ingham Medical Center in Lansing created the first operating room dedicated to arthroscopic surgery including a glass wall for visitors to comfortably observe surgery.

Arthroscopic Suite Ingham Medical Center

Arthroscopic Suite Ingham Medical Center

First and foremost I am a physician/surgeon. No matter a physician’s special interest, the medical license says physician/surgeon. In the course of my medical practice, medicine became very specialized, me included. I went from medical doctor, to board certified orthopedic surgeon to arthroscopic surgeon. My business card indicated such. I did not go so far as to do only left knees and right elbows. When I saw this unfolding, I changed my business card my roots, a “new” specialty called Physician/Surgeon.



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Official Patent Document

Official Patent Document

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My friend and partner on the PGA Tour; Howard Twitty

My friend and partner on the PGA Tour; Howard Twitty

I started golf at age 11 a Burroughs Farms, a family recreational area for employees of Burroughs Adding Machine Company. This facility is now called Oak Pointe, west of Brighton, MI. I played on Royal Oak High School team which won the Michigan State High School Championship in 1951 (not a misprint on year). My last year at Michigan State and sfter I was admitted to medical school, I played #3 man on Michigan State College (at that time) golf team. My best competitive score was two under 70 against Notre Dame. I have enjoyed 3 holes in one, the longest being 265 yards in 1955. I played a few local country club invitationals over the years, winning once at the Lansing Country club with Otto Schubel.

Long hiatus in golf due to medical school and practice, but in 2002, I slipped on the ice after a Michigan State basketball game and dislocated my shoulder. This resulted in rotator cuff repair and exploring one handed putting. This led to interest in putting and putter design. This led to meeting Howard Twitty, former PGA tour player and the rest is history and daily documentation of new events now reflected in this blog’s “What are you up to in Golf”

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Life & life

Open Bible

Open Bible

These are musings about Life and life. Notice the capital letter on the first Life. The reason is that it is a synonym or code name for the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He called himself the Way, The Truth and the Life. Over the years I have lived an imperfect life (not capitalized) which is one of the qualifications for becoming and remaining a Christian. There is a fun scripture that rhetorically says, “Does a well man need a doctor?” Only those with faults need apply.

I have written a number of manuscripts about Life and life. One such many people Christian or not have appreciated is my insight to what goes on in the operating room which resulted in a prayer for those undergoing surgery. (use the form to the right to sign up and get this free)

I have written a short manuscript on “A Physician Looks at Scriptural Healing”. Being a medical doctor and a Christian it was of interest to me, what the Bible recorded about healing. So it was important to me to make this study in light of my clinical experiences. I want the proceeds from this to go directly to Fresh Wind Christian Community in Benzie County, MI.

This section will have many other reflections on Life and life as we go along.

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Answering the frequently asked question (FAQ) of what am I up to now?

A BLOG seemed the best and most efficient means of answering the FAQs on a regular basis.  It might be said that I wear multiple hats or have many interests.  Discovery in medicine will always be the main topic.  However there are other categories; Golf Adventures, Inventions, and some Christian writings.  Hopefully the BLOG will be a format to tell what I am up to in each of these main endeavors.  It seems almost daily there are interesting events; at least to me. Perhaps the events may be of interest to others.

I want to make it clear, I am not retired.  Retirement it is bad for one’s health.  I concluded my clinical practice in 1995, but work regularly in these various endeavors.  I do not see anywhere in the Bible where retirement is to be desired or realized.  I have told my daughters that I will not be speaking at my retirement party.

From time to time I will answer publicly herein those questions that recently surfaced and may be of general interest.  I will not be recording what I had on my hot dog at a ball game, let alone focus on mundane events.

I trust I will accomplish the intended goal of answering “What am I up to?”

Is your Bible Holy only because you Cut Out Scriptures?

3/14/2018: This is a very common example of excising a portion of Scripture. It is very common to hear this scripture quotation from Revelation 12 as a prescription for solving one’s present problems.

“And they overcame him (devil) by means of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” The implication is “just plead the blood and say some Bible verses out loud” and you will win in spiritual warfare.

However the last line is never mentioned by TV pastors. The verse 11 goes on to say “for they did not love and cling to life even when faced death”. (Amplified Bible) This later sentence is discussing the death of self, our goals, our ambitions and our very being. In this sense, we do not matter when it comes to winning spiritual battles. We must be willing to sublimate our often preconceived ideas and ambitions to achieve the greater good of the Kingdom of God.

The enemy embraces this concept very readily, although not in the Biblical sense. In World War II, the Japanese had kamikaze pilots who sacrificed their life for the greater cause. Today we see the ISIS warriors and Muslim radicals doing the same thing for what they consider a greater purpose. It is very hard to defeat such tactics.

God wants us to embrace the same concept for Holy Spiritual warfare. We can invoke the benefit of the covering of the Blood of Jesus and quote scripture all we want, but until we are willing to fight to the death of self, not much will happen.

Making a Difference May Include Being Different

3/7/2018: I was asked to write this short manuscript by the editor in chief of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

What’s Important: Making a Difference May Include Being Different
Johnson, Lanny L. MD

JBJS: March 7, 2018 – Volume 100 – Issue 5 – p 443–444
doi: 10.2106/JBJS.18.00011
The Orthopaedic Forum

I probably made a difference in orthopaedic surgery as one of the pioneers of arthroscopy and the inventor of the motorized shaver and other instruments. However, a recent review of the biographies of those chosen for the American Orthopaedic Association’s (AOA’s) Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award made it clear that my career path was very different from those who are acknowledged by organized medicine.

Many of the AOA luminaries came from families with medical genealogies. There were no doctors in my family. We only knew our family doctor, E.E. Woods, MD, who removed my tonsils in his office under ether anesthesia in 1938. He was way ahead of his time in doing outpatient surgery.

I had been an athlete in high school and had wanted to become a coach, but my high school coach thought that I should be a surgeon based on results from the Kuder Preference Test. I had rejected that idea, thinking I was not smart enough—my IQ was 112. Plus, my family had no money.

Most of those chosen by the AOA for the Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award had attended elite private colleges. I had attended a state school (called Michigan State College at the time) on an athletic scholarship. My high school coach had convinced me to try veterinary science, which I did for 1 year, and then I changed my major to premed. My application to the prestigious University of Michigan Medical School was rejected. I graduated from Wayne State University Medical School in Detroit—without honors.

Perhaps my only likeness with the AOA honorees was my residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, which was then, and still is, a prestigious program. My mentors there were H. Relton McCarroll, MD, and Fred C. Reynolds, MD, who were both American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) presidents.

Those chosen for honors by the AOA typically came from large university academic groups. I had a desire for academic medicine and had been offered opportunities right out of residency to head a program at Syracuse and a new program in Shreveport, Louisiana. However, I accepted a family member’s advice that I was not a good fit for academic medicine and declined. By contrast, I started a solo private practice in East Lansing, Michigan, where there was no medical school at the time.

I was interested in sports medicine and went to all of the relevant continuing education courses, where I learned that the experts of the day were 100% correct in their clinical diagnoses, personally confirmed by them during surgery. I was not that good, and was looking for ways to improve. I heard a lecture by Bob Jackson, MD, in 1969 about arthroscopy with a large Watanabe scope. Then, at an AAOS technical exhibit, I saw a needle scope. I popularized the use of this scope in an outpatient setting using local anesthesia at a time when arthrograms were the diagnostic standard. Subsequently, I saw that hand debridement by arthroscopy was primitive, and I invented motorized instrumentation, including a shaver.

Most of those honored by the AOA belong to multiple prestigious orthopaedic organizations, most of which initially rejected my applications for membership. The rejections arose partly because the orthopaedic surgeons in my community said I was performing an unethical and immoral operation. Today, those purportedly inappropriate procedures are among the most common and successful orthopaedic procedures that are performed.

I was rejected from membership in the Michigan Orthopaedic Society for 11 years. Five years ago, I received that society’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. I was a candidate for AOA membership on 4 occasions before finally being admitted at 60 years of age. Each application was sponsored by a different AAOS president. My practice received a site visit by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) president, Les Bodner, MD, and secretary, Royer Collins, MD. After their visit, they voluntarily submitted my application for membership, but I was blackballed. Three years later, I was asked to give a 2-hour program on arthroscopy at the AOSSM national meeting, and was then granted membership. From all of these initial rejections and subsequent recognitions, I learned that I must accept, weigh, be thankful for, and respond to legitimate criticism.

Unlike those typically honored by the AOA, I was never a traveling fellow, nor do I have a long list of academic appointments or awards. I had published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery while I was a resident, but had only 1 publication thereafter. Noting that, the former JBJS Editor-in-Chief, Paul Curtiss, MD, invited me to submit. The submissions were all rejected. Dr. Curtiss was kind enough to tell me why: a prominent Harvard professor who reviewed for JBJS said I was a known liar.

I was never elected to a leadership position in organized medicine. To be fair, I was offered several opportunities to serve as president of large national orthopaedic associations, but the same family member mentioned above directed me to decline. I have never been named a “distinguished” anything. I have received no National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other prestigious grants; I have always funded my own research.

So, with all of these differences from the mainstream orthopaedic leadership, how can someone like me make a difference? I was influenced by the 1958 AAOS presidential address by H. Relton McCarroll, MD, entitled, “What Good Thing Could Come Out of Nazareth?” The message was that an orthopaedic surgeon can make a contribution no matter where he or she practices. I practiced in a remodeled student-rental house across from an 80-acre cornfield. In the early days, there were no traffic lights between my home and my office.

Without the usual academic credentials, I have made a difference by combining personal curiosity, devotion to duty, and a responsibility to improve as an orthopaedic surgeon. However, the key ingredient was providential influence. I never generated any ideas—I only received them. Then, I simply applied the time and energy that was necessary to verify with convincing proof the validity and usefulness of the idea that was given.

I also have been influenced by various wise sayings from the ancient literature:

Do not take into account a wrong suffered.
Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.
Do not let your praise come out of your own mouth.
Be ambitious for a quiet and peaceful life.
Follow the Golden Rule.
At age 84, I still want to make a difference. I was recently granted U.S. patents on a phytochemical-coated implant to prevent biofilm infections, a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug, a new broad-spectrum antibiotic, a wound-healing reagent, and a skin acne healer, with others in the pipeline. I hope readers can see that being different does not preclude a person from making a difference.

Disclosure: On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest form, which is provided with the online version of the article, the author checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a patent and/or copyright, planned, pending, or issued, broadly relevant to this work (links.lww.com/JBJS/E637).

My most effective prayer

3/1/18: My most effective prayer is “Thank you Lord for working out all the details of my life”. This is based upon the Word that says, “Cast all your cares upon me, because I care for you.”
1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 55:22

My Comments on the Health Care Industry’s CEO’s Innovation Visions

2/16/2018: Alex Gorsky, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson recently made the following statements concerning where healthcare innovation is headed.

 Here is what I think about each of his factors listed in bolding.

There must be a sense of urgency.  This is rarely seen in health care because they are slow to change their culture or way of doing business.  Why is there no change?  The have been successful in doing what they always have done.

This requires us to actually re-imagine Johnson & Johnson as a 132-year-old startup.  The cultural background and personalities of those who came up through this system does not allow them to imagine what it takes to be a start up; personal risk, handling failure, more time than anticipated, and the idea of trying again.                          

One that embraces and acts on the best ideas.  This is unlikely to happen since “corporate’s” idea of the best ideas are ones that produce profit in the next quarter, not five years from now when they will be retired or at another company.

One that is nimble and fast.  This is unlikely as the junior officers are not going to risk loosing their job by proposing an idea or plan that requires a fast and nimble approach to new products. They know that no one got to the top of “corporate” doing it this way.

One that leverages technology to drive life-changing and life-saving innovation.  The risk adverse culture will never leverage as this word contains risk.  Let me give you an example.  There is a US patented way to coat total joint implants at the time of surgery to prevent attachment of biofilm bacterial colonies.  The major orthopedic industry will not take this on because of the estimate of 10 years and 50-150 million dollars to get through the FDA.  They cannot even entertain a known less expensive way in time and money to get there.

One that focuses on being competitive always.  Being competitive means you are the fittest and fastest with the most mental toughness.  High profits inherent in the major medical companies never have required these characteristics and will not, because it has not been necessary to date for success.

One that embraces transformative products.  The corporate mentality of the “Big Pharma” has ignored the nutraceutical industry which incidentally is growing very fast.,

One that has quality services.  This factor does exist with present managements, marketing, sales and distribution.

One that has transparent pricing.  This is not likely as the R&D and cost of doing business is so high, it requires new blockbuster drugs for cancer to sell for up to $100,000 per patient treatment; yes $100,000.   This is not you new aspirin.

One that has all the factors with the consumer top-of-mind.  If this was so it would not have been almost 30 years since introduction of a new antibiotic.  Why is this?  The cost to develop plus regulations would not allow the same profit margin as cancer or arthritis.

Summary Insights: For safety, medical companies usually do acquisitions, not innovations.  After all they are in the business of making money.

Real Feel Gloves launch

2/9/2018: The Real Feel Glove initiative was launched at the PGA show in Orlando.  Web site is up at www.RealFeelGloves.com.  The interesting aspect is the suggestions to so many performance enhancing applications; golf, basketball, football, sport shooting as in Olympics, fly fishing and even musical instruments.

Presently doing testing on PGA tour for supporting evidence.  US patent has been granted.

Bob Toski on Real Feel Glove

1/26/2018: Bob Toski comments on Real Feel Glove at PGA Show.  Toski, a Hall of Fame golfer says, “This Real Feel Glove will revolutionize golf; teaching, learning and playing.”


Bob Toski, now 91 years with Dr. Lanny the younger at 84 years having fun with Real Feel Glove and the Grooved Grip at the PGA Show.


You may not be the first to make a discovery

1/7/2018:  You may not be the first to make a discovery.  I loved this short video’s teaching moment.