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    Moroccan Doctor Oubeid Allah Hlal Uses Humor in Medical Education

    According to Oubeid Allah Hlal, humor fosters bonds and a sense of assurance and trust between doctors and their patients.

    12 Aug 2022

    Rabat - For the longest time, medicine has been considered a “serious” field with no room for humor or laughter, but a growing number of humor-oriented health professionals have adopted a different approach to medicine, endorsing the use of humor in the medical field.

    Oubeid Allah Hlal, a Moroccan cardiologist has established a name for himself among Moroccans as both a comedian and a health professional. Speaking with Morocco World News, Hlal said: “I am a cardiologist who has a passion for making people laugh,” stressing the importance of humor in building rapport between doctors and their patients, as well as creating a joyous and positive atmosphere.

    How it all started

    Hlal, who received his degree in cardiac rehabilitation and the prevention of cardiovascular disease and medicalsensibilization from the University of Paris, has always had a passion for humor. His journey started at the age of 24 with the comedy group “Les Inqualifiables,” meaning “the unspeakable” in French.

    Alongside his co-star Amine Belghazi, Hlal had the opportunity to perform on stage for the first time, marking the beginning of the “Les Inqualifiables,” which enjoyed great success in Morocco and garnered millions of views on Youtube.

    Fast forward to 2019, Hlal went to France for his medical training but the COVID-19 pandemic happened soon after, during which much of the world came to a stop. During the lockdown, “I discovered myself … the doctor who can use humor in medicine, and it gave an unbelievable result,” he said.

    Hlal created a series of videos in which he raised awareness about various medical topics, including COVID-19, which garnered a widespread audience. “People loved it and it made me feel so good,” the 32-year-old added, stressing that he was able to do two things he loved, medicine and humor, at the same time.

    “I arrived at a starting point to begin an experience that gives me, every single day, the power and willingness to get up and carry on,” as well as “to give, to exchange, to learn, and share with people useful information,” he said.

    As a person who loves “constructive humor, I found my intellectual G-spot: learning through humor,” he highlighted.

    Ambitious project

    “My project consists of introducing humor as a discipline in supporting patients,” Hlal said. Since his first year of training, Oubeid noticed that during consultations, his patients found in him “the friendly side” every patient is looking for in a doctor. “It was exceptional,” he remarked, because “I saw a smile on the faces of people who needed it the most.”

    “The story of making patients laugh started when I was in my second and third year in medical school in cardiology in Morocco,” Hlal said. He argues that his approach contributed to building a strong relationship with his patients, which was full of “love, friendliness, and compassion.”

    Despite being hesitant about implementing this approach with patients, fearing that his professors might consider it to be “unprofessional,” he felt more “freedom” to integrate his approach into his day-to-day hospital practice when he went to France. It eventually gave great results, giving Hlal the courage to take it a step forward and share his strategy with social media users.

    The most important part about this journey, Hlal said, is that it did not affect his “reputation” and “credibility” as a doctor among his patients. In fact, his relationship with his patients became that of “trust, laughter, information, and medicine.”

    Positive reaction

    Satisfied with the “exceptional” reaction his content received, Hlal explained that the topics he tackled received positive feedback and left a good impact among social media users, particularly a video which raises awareness about the dangers of smoking.

    The positive reaction was not limited to the digital world, as his patients also expressed their satisfaction with his new medical approach. “I have testimonies from people who said that laughing made them feel good and calm, and they want to come back to the hospital and see me again,” he said.

    “It is people that gave me the desire to continue,” and “I want to represent my country, my Morocco, and leave a trace behind,” Hlal said, hoping that an “evolution” in this area would occur in the future.

    Creating a balance

    “I have always loved to be multidisciplinary, versatile,” Hlal said, explaining that one does not need to be confined to a specific field or job. “I have always done this, I study and work and do night shifts, then I go to the theater and perform things that have nothing to do with cardiology,” he added.

    “I found an incredible balance,” he stressed, explaining that he is glad he could “get in front of the camera or on a stage and talk about medicine with humor.”

    Hlal achieved this balance between his job as a cardiologist and a comedian by “prioritizing what he wants to do” and setting a clear plan for his future objectives, adding that what matters is “the quality, not the quantity” of work.

    With patience and slow-paced steps, Hlal is not in a rush to achieve his objectives as long as he gets there eventually. “It does not matter how old I am when I achieve my dream, which is to become the first comedian cardiologist in the world and to represent my country everywhere in the world,” he said.

    Tackling taboos

    While several health-related topics remain taboo in Morocco, Hlal stresses the need to close this considerable “gap” of what are perceived to be more “acceptable” aspects of health to discuss.

    “There are no taboos in medicine,” the Moroccan cardiologist noted, explaining that people need to keep an open mind and discuss all topics, as long as they are addressed in an appropriate manner.

    Since Morocco is a conservative country, it is rare to find people who tackle taboo topics, including sexuality, he highlighted, adding that he feels more compelled to talk about these topics, especially through adding his touch of humor, which could make those topics more digestible.

    Hlal concluded by saying: “My objective is to continue with the same dynamic and rhythm of progress,” adding that he seeks to continue “learning and growing, as well as continue spreading medical awareness and improve his digital content.”


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