New York Times review of “Incidental Findings”

by Nicholas Confessore
New York Times

Ofri’s thoughtful and honest second book — the title is inspired by her realization, during her own amniocentesis, that conditions that seem minor to doctors are monumental when they happen to you — is equal parts “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and “Kitchen Confidential.” It follows her as she begins life as an attending physician at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and the clichés promoted in medical school ethics classes quickly wither. “He was sick enough to be miserable, but not sick enough to die,” she writes of a suicidal man suffering from a host of illnesses. “I could not bring myself to utter flimsy platitudes about the value of life and how things would be better tomorrow. They weren’t going to get better.” Instead of recycled bread baskets and bacteria-laden hollandaise sauce, we get the lab test that never comes back and the patient who never follows up on her treatment. “I start to resent her. . . to hate everything about her. I hate to see her name on the roster,” Ofri writes. “I ask as few questions as possible for fear of eliciting new, unsolvable complaints.” Doogie Howser, M.D., she is not — thank goodness.


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