Perchance to Think

In the pressurized world of contemporary outpatient medicine, there is simply no time to think. With every patient, we doctors race to cover the bare minimum, sprinting in subsistence-level intellectual mode because that’s all that’s sustainable. More

Podcast: Listen to the Patient!

Danielle is interviewed by Joe Elia from the New England Journal of Medicine about her new book, “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear.” More

The Little Things

Although technically these are the little things, in a sense they’re actually the big things. Indeed, for some patients, the little thing may be the only thing that matters. More

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. More

The Emotional Epidemiology of Vaccination

The only preventative medicine that actually prevents disease are vaccinations. Our world is an immeasurably better place since the advent of vaccines. Yet there is a complicated psychology that hovers like a fog around the idea of vaccination. More

Can We Measure a “Good Doctor?”

What do quality measures actually measure? Can they tell us who is a good doctor, or what makes a good doctor? “Quality measures” offer patients a seductively scientific metric of doctors’ performance — but can easily lead them astray. More

Interview about doctors, patients, books, and life

Listen to Joe Elia interview Danielle Ofri on Clinical Conversations (NEJM Journal Watch). They talk about the state of medicine, doctor-patient relationships, work-life balance, and the re-issue of her book “Singular Intimacies.” More

Medicine: An Uncertain Art

As surely as the first bill for malpractice insurance lands on the desk, so too does the awkward lesson of clinical medicine — that the scientific certainty dished out by the medical establishment represents only a small portion of what clinical practice actually is. More

Solving the Health Care Crisis

Status quo is a powerful determinant of both belief and behavior. This is why incumbents win elections, why we always choose the same flavor of yogurt, why we prescribe the same antihypertensive medications, and why we have our health care system in America. More

Talking With Doctors

Imagine falling mysteriously ill in a foreign country, in which the language, culture, and customs have no bearing on your own. Imagine trying to find medical help and evaluating your potential healers without understanding the territory, while the shadow of imminent death lingers over your shoulder. This is roughly the experience that David Newman underwent when he discovered that he had a rare tumor that was hovering precariously near his brain stem. The foreign capital was a certain well-known medical city on the Hudson River. More

NEJM review of “Incidental Findings”

Ofri reminds us that medicine is really about the bond between a patient and a physician. “Incidental Findings” is a beautiful book. Ofri has enough faith in her patients, her profession, and herself to tell it all. More

They Sent Me Here

“They told me to give you this,” she said, as she pushed an envelope across the desk toward me. I’ve always been intrigued by who “they” are — those mystery people referred to with such assumed authority and universality. Particularly in a large city hospital, in which the staff is mammoth and constantly changing, “they” constitute a particularly encompassing force. More

Residency Regulations—Resisting Our Reflexes

Our instinctive resistance to change reflects not just nostalgia, but the fact that our years of medical training define us in an iconic fashion unique to this profession. Medical training sets social, clinical, and moral barometers by which decades of professional and personal life are gauged. These brief years imprint a personal definition in a manner not seen in other fields: one rarely hears MBAs clucking about crumbling standards and the days of the giants—most view the younger generation with unabashed envy. More


I groan when I catch sight of her name on the patient roster. Nazma Uddin. Not again! She is in my clinic office almost every month. I dread her visits, and today is no exception. More

Tools of the Trade

I was ashamed to admit it, but I was perversely thankful for the numerous comatose patients on my service because they made rounds faster and left more time to concentrate on the active GI bleeders, the patients in DKA, the ones with gram-negative septicemia, and the ones who spoke English. More

Books by Danielle Ofri