What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine

Danielle Ofri’s critically acclaimed book, What Doctors Feel, is a look at the emotional side of medicine—the shame, fear, anger, anxiety, empathy, and even love that impact patient care. Contemporary media portrayals of doctors focus on the decision-making and medical techniques, reinforcing an image of rational, unflinching doctors. But the quality of medical care is influenced by what doctors feel, an aspect of medicine that is usually left out of discussions of health care today.

Drawing on scientific studies as well as real-life stories from her own medical practice and other physicians, Dr. Danielle Ofri investigates the impact of emotions on medical care. With her renowned eye for dramatic detail, Dr. Ofri takes us into the swirling heart of patient care. She faces the humiliation of an error that nearly killed her patient and the forever fear of making another. She mourns when a long-time patient is denied a heart transplant. She tells the riveting stories of doctors who have faced the death of a newborn in their arms, and have faced the glare of lawyers in the courtroom.

Read an excerpt (and hear an NPR interview).


한국어하세요? Check out the Korean edition.

你會說中文嗎? Check out the Chinese edition.

あなたは日本語を話せますか? Check out the Japanese edition.

(Spanish edition coming soon!)

Parli Italiano? Get your espresso and check out the Italian edition of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Feel:” Cosa dice el malato, cosa sente il medico.


Keep tabs on Danielle’s upcoming events


“As close to a page-turner as a clinician’s story is likely to become.”

The Lancet

“An invaluable guide for doctors and patients on how to recognize and navigate the emotional subtexts of the doctor-patient relationship.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Taut, vivid prose. [Ofri] writes for a lay audience with a practiced hand. This book’s hallmark is her honesty.”

New York Times

“An eloquent and honest take on the inner life of medical professionals…eye-opening for the public–and required reading for medical students.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“With grace, courage, humility, and compassion, Ofri gives voice and color to the heartbreak, stress, and joy that attends medical practice. A moving and informative read…”

Library Journal

“With incredible insight, lyrical beauty, humor and consideration, Danielle Ofri gives readers the kind of comfort we need when faced with any sort of medical anything by revealing exquisite vulnerability in an esteemed profession…Overall, I couldn’t let go of this graceful, elegant, honest book and I think you’ll love it, too.”

Life After 50

“Can’t recommend highly enough.”

Minnesota Public Radio

“…lucid and passionate explanations of the important role that emotions play in the practice of medicine.”

Perri Klass, author of “Treatment Kind and Fair”

“Her insightful and invigorating book makes the case that it’s better for patients if a physician’s emotional compass-needle points in a positive direction.”

Booklist Starred Review

“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. Rich and deeply insightful.”

Boston Globe


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