doctors

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

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

The Provider Will See You Now

When did doctors become “providers”? The term has a deliberate sterility to it that wrings out any sense of humanity, and connotes a widgetlike framework for that which is being “provided.” More

Lives Cut Short by Depression

There is something about a first friend that is irreplaceable. No matter how disparately your lives travel, the first friend you ever had occupies a special place in your heart. I was lucky that Michael was considerate enough to be born four months before me, waiting next door, ready to join me in elaborate childhood games of hide-and-seek, multilevel couch forts and family camping trips in the Catskills. More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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