doctors

Flying Solo

A passed-out photographer, a hellish round of flight delays, a Fisher-Price stethoscope–what a series of out-of-hospital emergencies taught me about medicine as a team sport. 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

Empathy in the Age of the EMR

We doctors have been reduced to tools of mere data entry. A higher being might peek into our exam room and be unable to distinguish the doctor from the sphygmomanometer. There is at least one upside to this mess, however. The aggressiveness of the EMR’s incursion into the doctor-patient relationship has forced us to declare our loyalties: are we taking care of patients or are we taking care of the EMR? More

The Daily Exploitation of Medical Staff

Corporate medicine has milked just about all the “efficiency” it can out of the system. With mergers and streamlining, it has pushed the productivity numbers about as far as they can go. But one resource that seems endless — and free — is the professional ethic of medical staff members. More

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

A Tense Moment in the ER

The hospital, by definition, is a stressful place for patients and families unsettled by the vulnerabilities of the human body. Add in issues of race, class, gender, power dynamics, economics, and long wait times, and you have the ingredients for combustion just hankering for tinder. More

A Doctor’s Responsibility

“Excuse me, sir,” I imagine the scenario playing out, “do you mind if I barge in on your life to see if I can save your life?” At what point does concern morph into presumption? The line between kindly interventions and condescending ones can be perilously thin. More

Patients vs Paperwork

Like some virulent bacteria doubling on the agar plate, the EMR grows more gargantuan with each passing month, requiring ever more (and ever more arduous) documentation to feed the beast. It’s time to take action. More

Danielle Ofri’s TED Talk on “Fear: A Necessary Emotion”

Fear is a perfectly human state for a doctor to be in. However, it’s not necessarily the most ideal situation for your patient to be in. Danielle Ofri’s TED talk is a harrowing journey through the intricacies of fear. More

The Insanity of Recertification

Studying for the boards is like stuffing your face at a hot dog–eating contest: The first few hundred pages are intriguing and tasty; the next few hundred are interesting, but your brain is feeling sluggish. The remaining thousand pages are just confettied sauerkraut delivered by dump-truck onto a comatose slop of neurons. More

The Physical Exam as Refuge

There are few situations where we expect to disrobe and have our bodies touched by relative strangers. More

Why Doctors Don’t Take Sick Days

From day one in medical training, the unspoken message is that calling in sick is for wimps. Most doctors ignore their symptoms and resist taking the day off unless they are sick enough to be hospitalized in the next bed over. What explains this toxic brew of denial, ignorance and bravado? More

Doctors Blame Others for Medical Costs

If doctors feel that the grind of medicine is just going to get worse, then they won’t have any stake in making major changes. You can present all the data you want but it doesn’t have a chance when stacked up against emotion and experience. More

Creativity in Medicine

“What are you doing creatively these days?” It’s not a question you hear commonly. Medicine is a field with a strong history of creativity, but its daily practice feels less and less creative More

Books by Danielle Ofri

Subscribe