New York Times review

New York Times review

This book’s hallmark is honesty, particularly when it comes to the emotional fallout of her medical mistakes.

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Fear is a Primal Emotion

Fear is a Primal Emotion

This was it—the first code I was in charge of. After two years of racing to codes as a first- and second-year resident, now suddenly, the code was mine. I was the one to call the shots, to direct the care, to assign the jobs, to make the decisions....Shit!

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Tolerating Ambiguity

Tolerating Ambiguity

When faced with ambiguous situations, most of us — quite humanly — want to run for the tantalizing veneer of the certain. We doctors pride ourselves in the scientific girders of modern medicine. Much of the time, though, we function in an ambiguous zone, without clear-cut answers.

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The Darkest Year of Medical School?

The Darkest Year of Medical School?

Next month, your future doctor will take the first steps into clinical medicine. I am not talking about the first day of internship (though that also happens on July 1), but the monumental transition that medical students make at the halfway point of medical school from the classroom years to the clinical years.

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An Examination of Doctors, Straight from the Heart

An Examination of Doctors, Straight from the Heart

A fascinating journey into the heart and mind of a physician struggling to do the best for her patients while navigating an imperfect health care system that often seems to value “efficiency,” measured in dollars and minutes, more than the emotional well-being of either physician or patient.

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Medical Errors and the Culture of Shame

Medical Errors and the Culture of Shame

It was probably our eighth or ninth admission that day, but my intern and I had given up counting. I was midway through my medical residency, already a master of efficiency. You had to be, or you’d never keep up. This one was a classic eye-roller: a nursing home patient with dementia, sent to the…

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Oliver Sacks video

Oliver Sacks video

Full video of Danielle Ofri's interview of Oliver Sacks is now available. Hear the full conversation, ranging from the ethics of using patients' stories, to the ins and outs of hallucinations, to the relative merits of Bach versus Beethoven.

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Creativity in Medicine

Creativity in Medicine

"What are you doing creatively these days?" It’s not a question you hear commonly. Medicine is a field with a strong history of creativity, but its daily practice feels less and less creative

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Intensive Care: A Doctor’s Journey (new eBook!)

Intensive Care: A Doctor’s Journey (new eBook!)

"Intensive Care" is a journey through the inner world of medicine, sampling all of Danielle's books, including her forthcoming book: What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine." This eBook has a special price of $3.99 and is available on all electronic platforms.

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Incidental Finding?

Incidental Finding?

A small adrenal mass was “incidentally noted” on my patient’s CT. But once the incidentaloma had been given life, so to speak, it was no longer incidental. We were now obliged to run some highly complicated — and expensive — lab tests.

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Medical Check-Ups: Waste of Time?

Medical Check-Ups: Waste of Time?

A new report concluded that general health checkups for adults did not help patients live longer or healthier lives. So is it time to scrap the annual medical check-up?

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Lab, Interrupted

Lab, Interrupted

All academic medical centers rest on a tripod — patient care, education and research. The effect of Hurricane Sandy on the third leg of that tripod — research — has gotten the least attention, partly because rescuing cell cultures just isn’t as dramatic as carrying an I.C.U. patient on a ventilator down flights of stairs…

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Coming Home to Bellevue

Coming Home to Bellevue

There's no place like home. That's not a phrase people typically utter about their hospitals, but those were the words on everyone's lips when we returned to Bellevue last week, after the hurricane-induced evacuation.

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When the Patient is “Noncompliant”

When the Patient is “Noncompliant”

As soon as a patient is described as noncompliant, doctor shorthand for patients who don’t take their medication or follow medical recommendations, it’s as though a black mark is branded on the chart.

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Bellevue and the Hurricane

Bellevue and the Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy forced the evacuation of Bellevue's patients and precipitated a full closure of this legendary hospital, along with its sister hospitals--NYU and the Manhattan VA.

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Women Still Missing from Medicine’s Top Ranks

Women Still Missing from Medicine’s Top Ranks

While women make up about half of all medical students and a third of academic faculty members, they are are still vastly underrepresented in leadership roles. Is it that the medical world remains biased against women? Or is it that the culture of the workplace — built around the needs of men for generations —…

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Mensches with MDs

Mensches with MDs

All religions have weighed in on the thorny ethical controversy of when life begins. In the Jewish faith, however, there is consensus: the embryo is only viable once it graduates medical school.

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Mansion of Happiness

Mansion of Happiness

What do Milton Bradley's Game of Life, breast pumps, Stuart Little, Karen Ann Quinlan and eugenics have in common? In Jill Lepore's engaging new book, "The Mansion of Happiness," they are the touchstones along the existential footpath of life. "A History of Life and Death" - as the subtitle has it - could easily be…

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Imagine a World Without AIDS

Imagine a World Without AIDS

The beginning of the end of AIDS? Could it really be?For those of us who did our medical training in the late ’80s and early ’90s, AIDS saturated our lives. The whole era had a medieval feel, with visceral suffering and human decimation all around.

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Falling into the Diagnostic Trap

Falling into the Diagnostic Trap

It’s as though our brains close ranks around our first impression, then refuse to consider anything else. With this patient, we almost missed a life-threatening diagnosis.

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Assuming the Doctor’s a “He”

Assuming the Doctor’s a “He”

A classic study of preschoolers in 1979 showed that even young children “knew” that doctors were men and nurses were women. But surely we’ve moved beyond these stereotypes, no?

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Ins and Outs of Inpatient and Outpatient Medicine

Ins and Outs of Inpatient and Outpatient Medicine

The inpatient wards and the outpatient clinic are part of the same hospital, but they are like different planets. On the inpatient side, the patients are acutely ill — malignant brain tumor, acute renal failure, heart valve infections, intestinal bleeding, and so on. Not so in the outpatient clinic, where patients get their regular medical…

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Monday

Monday

Maybe it was simply human nature that no one wanted to be sick on weekends. Or admit to it. Or do something about it. Whatever the reason, Mondays were always the days of reckoning: weekend walls of denial came crashing down, weekend indiscretions faced their due, weekend warriors paid their price in blood. Admissions poured…

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Lemons for Weight Loss

Lemons for Weight Loss

The field of weight-loss pills is strewn with lemons. Why do both doctors and patients pretend that it's lemonade, when it's anything but!

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Slow Medicine

Slow Medicine

I can't tell you exactly when it happened, but sometime in the past two decades, the "practice of medicine" was insidiously morphed into the "delivery of health care." If you aren't sure of the difference between the two, then "God's Hotel" is the book for you. It’s an engaging book that chronicles this fin-de-siecle phenomenon…

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Doctors Have Feelings Too

Doctors Have Feelings Too

Doctors should be aware of emotions that may lead them to be less than honest with patients or reluctant to admit errors.

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Who Deserves a Heart Transplant?

Who Deserves a Heart Transplant?

In Israel, a New Approach to Organ Donation by Danielle Ofri New York Times One of the most agonizing spots in medicine is the “transplant list.” When I’ve referred patients for organ transplant—heart, liver, kidney—it is the start of an anguished wait. The clock ticks for my patient as we watch her clinical status decline,…

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Doctors’ Suicide

Doctors’ Suicide

What happens it's the doctor who commits suicide? Sadly, physicians--as a group--have a higher suicide rate than other professionals. Here's the story of one doctor and the effects of his death on his student.

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Music Teachers for Doctors?

Music Teachers for Doctors?

What if every doctor learned from a music teacher? Could a "coach" bring back the intellectual vibrancy from medical-school days for one doctor, the way a music teacher inspires constant growth?

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A Sampler of Danielle’s writing

A Sampler of Danielle’s writing

Want to sample Danielle's writing? Check out videos, podcasts, and of course, the written word of Danielle's most memorable stories.

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