Review of “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine”

“An essential book. Each chapter is like a journey into the hearts and minds of clinicians who are struggling with emotions triggered by the realities of medicine.” More

Review of “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine”

“An essential book. Each chapter is like a journey into the hearts and minds of clinicians who are struggling with emotions triggered by the realities of medicine.” More

Mansion of Happiness

What do Milton Bradley’s Game of Life, breast pumps, Stuart Little, Karen Ann Quinlan and eugenics have in common? In Jill Lepore’s engaging new book, “The Mansion of Happiness,” they are the touchstones along the existential footpath of life. “A History of Life and Death” – as the subtitle has it – could easily be a plodding, exhaustive disquisition; Lepore is a professor of history, after all. But her alter ego is as a New Yorker staff writer, and so she develops each chapter with an essayistic contour, diving in at an unexpected angle and then weaving a narrative that may perambulate historically, geographically and contextually. Yet we always come out at the other end with a thoughtful sense of how our society has grappled with these foundational concepts. More

Monday

Maybe it was simply human nature that no one wanted to be sick on weekends. Or admit to it. Or do something about it. Whatever the reason, Mondays were always the days of reckoning: weekend walls of denial came crashing down, weekend indiscretions faced their due, weekend warriors paid their price in blood. Admissions poured into the hospital. It was as though the map of Brooklyn had been curled up like a cone and all the human wreckage and misery funneled down to the tip where East Memorial Municipal Hospital sat, as it had for the past century since it opened, with its doors flung widely and indiscriminately open. More

Slow Medicine

I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but sometime in the past two decades, the “practice of medicine” was insidiously morphed into the “delivery of health care.” If you aren’t sure of the difference between the two, then “God’s Hotel” is the book for you. It’s an engaging book that chronicles this fin-de-siecle phenomenon from the perspective of San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital, the last almshouse in the United States. More

A Sampler of Danielle’s writing

Want to sample Danielle’s writing? Check out videos, podcasts, and of course, the written word of Danielle’s most memorable stories. More

Americans by Choice

“Enlightened citizenship is the everlasting strength of our democracy.” Inspiration from Andrew Carnegie. More

Facing the Water

She eyed the cool, glistening water, watching her friends swim. Gushes of water lapped over the edge, dousing the riverbank’s knot of weeds and rushes. She chided herself for forgetting her bathing suit. But this outing hadn’t been planned… More

Report Card on Women’s Health: "F"

As report cards go, this one was pretty depressing. The Women’s Health Care Report Card for 2010 from the National Women’s Law Center showed a nation failing the majority of its population. Not a single state in our fine union received a “Satisfactory” grade. Not one! More

Medicine Out of Context

I ducked into the ladies’ room at La Guardia Airport in New York for a pitstop before boarding my flight. Inside I encountered a housekeeper washing the floors. She flashed me a broad smile.

“Doctora,” she said, and then hesitated. I could see that she was waiting for a response. “Recuerdame?” More

Maladies, Remedies, and Anthologies: Medicine Taken at Its Word

The urge to anthologize seems to be one of those primordial drives, nestled in our genomes alongside the compulsions to eat heartily, imbibe lustily, and slaughter enemies willfully. Or at least that’s how the Greeks appear to have experienced it. More

Chekhov and Public Health

At first glance, it might seem odd that a public health journal would initiate a section about arts and humanities. Public health, after all, deals with populations; it eschews the individual except as it forms one of a group. The creative arts, however, deal almost exclusively with individuals. Literature, in particular, always has a protagonist, and the protagonist is never ‘alcoholics with pancreatitis,’ ‘female prisoners receiving hepatitis B vaccination,’ ‘South Asians with cardiovascular risk factors,’ ‘UK asylum seekers with infectious disease,’ or ‘teenaged asthmatic smokers.’1 A protagonist is an individual.

Madame Bovary, Huckleberry Finn, Jay Gatsby, Pip, Hamlet, Odysseus, Harry Potter, Holden Caulfield, Captain Ahab, Anna Karenina, Sherlock Holmes and Jean Valjean are individuals, not populations. What happens to each is entirely unique. There is nothing in their characters that is ‘applicable’ to larger populations; they define individualism. Our pleasure in reading these novels is the exhilaration of being swept up in the singular journeys of these remarkable individuals. More

Merced

“This is a case of a 23 year-old Hispanic female…” The speaker droned on with the details of the case that I knew so well. I leaned back in my chair, anticipating and savoring the accolades that were going to come. After all, in a roundabout way, I’d made the diagnosis. I was the one who had the idea to send the Lyme test in the first place. More

A Day in the Clinic

8:30 a.m. Doing intakes—interviews with new patients to the clinic. First one is Carola Castaña, a petite thirty-five-year-old Brazilian who immigrated to the United States three months ago. She folds her hands in her lap as I begin to take her history. She understands my questions better if I ask in Spanish rather than English, but her Portuguese replies are Greek to me, so she struggles to answer in English. More

Voice Mail: Blessing and Curse

Voice mail is both a blessing and a curse. When we were first given voice mail in our clinic, it was a revolution–patients could actually get in contact with their doctors. But sometimes voice mail is a ball and chain. More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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