White Hot Light

Frank Huyler was different than the other doctor-writers I’d been reading. His patients weren’t named, not even with pseudonyms. They weren’t meticulously described with MFA-honed adjectives. His language seemed ordinary, his sentence structures plain. There was no thesaurus lurking just beyond the page. But it was not a literary laziness. It was a seduction. More

Florence Nightingale in the age of Covid-19

May of 2020 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. That her bicentennial fell during a worldwide pandemic is both illuminating and ironic. Nightingale’s experience as a nurse during the Crimean War led her to three insights that came to define her professional life, insights as revolutionary as they were unpopular. More

The Vaccine Anthropologist

The world’s richest countries are now its most vaccine-hesitant. Can we learn to trust our shots before the next pandemic? Danielle Ofri profiles Heidi Larson, a “vaccine anthropologist,” for The New Yorker. More

Taking Stock of the Second Covid Surge

As the pandemic raged from the winter surge through to the spring slog, my Postmortem folder lit up with a dispiriting regularity. I opened it with dread as it revealed which of my patients had perished that week. More

The Doctors Blackwell

Few people today know much about what Elizabeth Blackwell actually did, and fewer are even aware of her younger sister Emily, by far the more accomplished clinician. More

Covid Duets

Given the death and destruction all around us during the Covid pandemic, it felt unseemly to complain about coming home to a strange cello every night. More

“Frontline Workers”

Even after Covid-19 is tamed by the forthcoming vaccines, health care workers will still be frontline workers. Because you never know what will show up tomorrow. More

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

Books by Danielle Ofri

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