Patients vs Paperwork

by Danielle Ofri New York Times Every doctor I know has been complaining about the growing burden of electronic busywork generated by the EMR, the electronic medical record. And it’s not just in our imaginations. The hard data have been rolling in now at a steady pace. A recent study in the Annals of Family … More

One Last Visit to See My Patient

My 91-year-old patient and I had been together for some 20 years — honestly I’d lost count — so visiting her at home, even in the torrential rain, was the least I could do. More

How We Treat Our Fellow Americans

The blossoming truth of “No Apparent Distress” is that a segment of American society has been casually cast aside, left to scavenge on the meager scraps of volunteer health services, and failing that, left to die. Some politicians might call this “choice.” A more medically accurate term would be abandonment. More

Time for the Medical Profession to Stand Up

Advocating for patients is as much a part of medical care as the medical care itself. Should that advocacy, however, extend beyond the doctor’s office, when politics has palpable effects on patients’ health? Most doctors see an intrinsic distinction between calling an insurance company and calling a senator. But in terms of our patients’ health, there is a moral argument that they are equivalent More

The Conversation Placebo

Pain remedies developed by the pharmaceutical industry are only modestly effective, and they have side effects that range from nausea and constipation to addiction and death. What’s often overlooked is that the simple conversation between doctor and patient can be as potent an analgesic as many treatments we prescribe. More

Just a “Regular” Doctor

“What’s your specialty?” This question continually flummoxes me. This is the moment that I experience a brief surge of envy toward my cardiology and dermatology colleagues who have simple one-word answers to this question that any lay person can understand. More

The Doctor-Patient Relationship is Alive and Well

Medicine is unquestionably harder than it was 10 years ago. Many more doctors I know talk about quitting (an option that is not equally available to patients). However, there’s been no mass exodus of doctors. We doctors grumble loudly — often with good cause — but we aren’t quitting in droves, mainly because of patients like Ms. M. More

Why Does the Physical Exam Stop at the Navel?

It’s like our patients are Humpty Dumpty, and the pieces are divvied out between different medical fields. Can we put the patient back together again? More

Should Doctors Care About Happiness?

We in the health care professions need to notice and inquire about happiness the same way we do other aspects of our patients’ lives. More

A Doctor in the Neighborhood

There aren’t any ethical guidelines about where a doctor should live or how she should behave when she and her patient are in line at the grocery store. More

Patients, and Doctors, Aren’t Dying at Home

Doctors, it turns out, aren’t much different than everyone else when it comes to where they die. More

The “Mall-ification” of Health Care

Retail health clinics have exploded over the last 10 years, and now it seems like every other big box store, supermarket and shopping mall has its own clinic. More

Getting the Diagnosis Wrong

Diagnostic accuracy is fiendishly difficult to measure precisely. A new report suggests that nearly everyone will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetimes. More

Getting the Diagnosis Right

If I had the luxury of an hour with each patient, I would have the time to carefully sort through every diagnostic possibility. But the reality is that I, like most doctors, have five to 10 minutes to push the majority of diagnoses to the bottom of the list, come up with the most likely few at the top. More

The Pain Med Conundrum

Under-treating pain violates the basic ethical principles of medicine. On the other hand, we are lambasted for over-prescribing pain medications. What are doctors to do? More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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