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

Doctor-Writers: What Are the Ethics?

There is a veritable epidemic of doctor-writers out there. What is going on? Are doctors suddenly in the kiss-and-tell mode? What about confidentiality? Professionalism? HIPAA? As one of the aforementioned doctor-writers, I look upon this trend with both awe and trepidation. More

A True Role Model: Dr. Lisa Schwartz

Lisa was my very first resident. She taught us medical students how to aspirate ascites fluid from the abdomen of a cirrhotic patient, how to diagnose granulomatosis with polyangiitis, how to wrangle a CT scan from an obdurate radiologist, how to handle a hallucinating patient who spoke only Igbo, and where to get a cheese Danish once the coffee shop closed. More

Mothers in Medicine

We in medicine are inculcated in the culture of deferred enjoyment, of sacrificing our lives now for some distant rose-colored, board-certified future. But here’s the breaking news: No chapter with unlimited time and resources is ever going to magically open up in our lives. No fairy godmother will miraculously graft 8 hours onto your day or stock your house with groceries or impress the 16 kinds of vasculitis into your cingulate gyrus. More

Medical Humanities: The Rx for Uncertainty?

A large part of our medical maturation is facing uncertainty and then accepting it into our fold. This is far harder than memorizing all those rare diseases. The humanities can offer doctors a paradigm for living with ambiguity and even for relishing it. More

Nothing Glamorous about Opioid Addiction

Pain stands nearly alone as a medical condition that not only can’t be measured but that patients might also have an ulterior motive to lie about. I never wonder if a patient is lying when she says she is constipated or has a vaginal itch. But the reality is that there’s not much street value for Metamucil, and there aren’t any rehabs filled with recovering Monistat addicts. More

The Day I Zipped My Lips and Let My Patients Talk

“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said Epictetus. It’s clear that the Greek philosopher wasn’t a physician in 21st century America. How long, I’ve sometimes wondered, would my patients actually talk if I didn’t say anything at all? More

Globe & Mail review of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear”

Ofri argues in her new book “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” that the conversations doctors have with their patients are the most important part of a medical visit, far surpassing blood tests, X-rays or various scans. And she believes it’s time both doctors and patients give these conversations their due. More

Washington Post Review of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear.”

“If you’ve switched physicians in search of someone more caring, or left an exam feeling unseen and unheard, you will find much to appreciate in Danielle Ofri’s perceptive book. ” More

A Bellevue Doctor on Trump, Exam Room Conversations and Her New Book

Ofri draws on anecdotes and evidence in her new book, “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear,” to argue that, even as technology advances, conversation between patients and doctors remains the “most potent diagnostic—and therapeutic—tool in medicine.” More

Are We Missing the Most Important Aspect of Health Care?

As the medical industry strives for a virtual world in which diagnoses are made and prescriptions rendered on a smartphone app, Ofri argues that successful conversation is the primary driver of healing. Sadly dialectics remain a longstanding elephant in the office: doctors enter with opinions, patients their own, the ticking clock on the wall in plain view of both parties. More

Book Launch!

You are cordially invited to the book launch for What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear. The launch will take place at two of my favorite bookstores: the Strand and the Upper West Side Barnes & Nobles.  I hope you can join me for one of them. Strand Bookstore Broadway and 12th St, Monday, Feb 6, at … More

Poetry in Medicine

When I make rounds with medical students and interns, I’ve often tried to sneak in a poem at the end. It’s not always the most well-received bit of medical teaching, More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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