Covid Diary–New Yorker

During March and April of 2020, New York City experienced the Covid surge that many other localities faced later. I kept a journal during these frightening weeks, talking with my colleagues and patients at Bellevue, as we grappled with how we could manage primary-care medicine during a pandemic. More

M&M

The body wasn’t even cold when they informed me that I would be presenting the case at M & M. I had never killed anyone before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I mean I had been to M & M before, but never as victim. More

Medical Errors during the Covid Crisis

There’s no doubt that what went right during the Covid pandemic was far greater than what went wrong. But things did go wrong, and part of the professional commitment that has been so justly lauded entails an honest reckoning of our shortcomings. More

Trial and Error

When I look back at the trial-and-error method of my medical training, I’m frankly horrified at what was considered a routine approach to training—placing sharp objects and critical conversations in the hands of medical fetuses and letting them loose on living, breathing patients. The practice of medicine needn’t entail actual practicing on our patients More

Coronavirus: Why Doctors and Nurses Are Anxious and Angry

The story of the coronavirus is still being written. The stories of polio, Ebola, H.I.V. and measles — all, alas, still in progress — remind us that public health is an ongoing, never-let-’em-up-from-the-mat effort. Narrow vision, data ignorance, image-conscious decision-making and truncated memory are the very elements of contagion. No amount of Purell can sanitize that. More

The Impressive Profits of Nonprofit Hospitals

Seven of the ten most profitable hospitals in America are nonprofit hospitals. Is this an oxymoron? More

Coronavirus and Fear

Fear is a primal emotion, and to pretend that the medical staff are any less susceptible than the general public is folly. I sometimes feel as though we need to negotiate an armistice of sorts with our fears. There is a certain amount of salutary fear we need to accept, the kind that keeps us respectful of the high stakes in caring for patients. But we also have to recognize that there are irrational fears, the kinds that are not necessarily allayed by data. More

Visiting—and Revisiting—Anne Frank

I had read the diary in junior high school and didn’t remember much beyond the vague outlines. But reading it aloud now, with the more dramatic voicing and pace required to keep a restless kid’s attention, I found the book absolutely mesmerizing. It was impossible to put down. More

Flying Solo

A passed-out photographer, a hellish round of flight delays, a Fisher-Price stethoscope–what a series of out-of-hospital emergencies taught me about medicine as a team sport. More

The Yemenite Giant and the Death of Stalin

I only knew my father, Zacharia Ofri, as an unassuming high-school math teacher. As a young man, though, he was basketball star in his native Israel. But the 1950s was a turbulent time. His story weaves in Cold War intrigue, Russian Embassy bombs, the death of Stalin, Ben Gurion’s hairdo, Iron Curtain railroad trips, Nasser’s miscalculations, the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and of course a New York City cab driver. (Plus lots of great photos!) More

The Covenant

Burnout among doctors appears to be at epidemic proportions these days, with concomitant gushing prescriptions for wellness and resilience. But in reality, most doctors are not burned out: most love taking care of patients and want nothing more than to be able to do just that. The source of the agony is the profession—or rather the corporatization of the profession… More

EMR Ménage-à-Trois

EMRs have both breathtaking assets and snarling annoyances. But what started out as a tool — a database to store information more efficiently than the paper chart — has inserted itself as a member of the medical team. What used to be a tango between the doctor and patient is now a troika. More

Empathy in the Age of the EMR

We doctors have been reduced to tools of mere data entry. A higher being might peek into our exam room and be unable to distinguish the doctor from the sphygmomanometer. There is at least one upside to this mess, however. The aggressiveness of the EMR’s incursion into the doctor-patient relationship has forced us to declare our loyalties: are we taking care of patients or are we taking care of the EMR? More

The Daily Exploitation of Medical Staff

Corporate medicine has milked just about all the “efficiency” it can out of the system. With mergers and streamlining, it has pushed the productivity numbers about as far as they can go. But one resource that seems endless — and free — is the professional ethic of medical staff members. More

Gaudeamus Igitur by John Stone

“Gaudeamus Igitur” is one of my favorite poems of all times. John Stone was a poet and cardiologist at Emory University, He wrote this poem (the title means “Therefore, Let us Rejoice” for a graduating class at Emory Medical School. More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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