“Frontline Workers”

Even after Covid-19 is tamed by the forthcoming vaccines, health care workers will still be frontline workers. Because you never know what will show up tomorrow. More

The Impressive Profits of Nonprofit Hospitals

Seven of the ten most profitable hospitals in America are nonprofit hospitals. Is this an oxymoron? The real question surrounding nonprofit hospitals is whether the benefits to the community equal what taxpayers donate to these hospitals in the form of tax-exempt status. More

Patients, and Doctors, Aren’t Dying at Home

Doctors, it turns out, aren’t much different than everyone else when it comes to where they die. More

Lab, Interrupted

All academic medical centers rest on a tripod — patient care, education and research. The effect of Hurricane Sandy on the third leg of that tripod — research — has gotten the least attention, partly because rescuing cell cultures just isn’t as dramatic as carrying an I.C.U. patient on a ventilator down flights of stairs in the dark. But, of course, there is an incontrovertible link between those cell cultures and that patient. More

Women Still Missing from Medicine’s Top Ranks

While women make up about half of all medical students and a third of academic faculty members, they are are still vastly underrepresented in leadership roles. Is it that the medical world remains biased against women? Or is it that the culture of the workplace — built around the needs of men for generations — simply remains that way? More


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

"Quality" Medical Care

We all want “quality” medical care. But how should quality actually be measured? Quality is one of those words that used to mean something. Nowadays in hospital hallways, quality is a charged word that is more corporate-speak than actual English.

Residency Regulators are Back!

Every patient wants a doctor who is well rested and alert, but limiting residents to 80 hours per week wasn’t as simple a panacea as it seemed. In fact, the 80-hour workweek did not decrease errors and did not increase sleep time for the doctors. More

Hospital Rankings: Bulk and Bunk

Every year the U.S. New & World Report publishes its rankings of the nation’s top 50 hospitals. Hospital administrators await this top 50 report with a tension and fervor that rivals the NFL first-draft pick. What’s inside the sausage of hospital rankings? More

St. Vincent’s Hospital (1849-2010)

Locking the entrance to the emergency room: there could not have been a more potent image to the final day of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. After 160 years, St. Vincent’s closed because of financial problems. It was the only hospital serving Greenwich Village and the last Catholic hospital in Manhattan. The closing … More

Missing the Final Act

Diseases, like dramas, have a natural progression. There are introductions, developments, climaxes, and dénouements. More

Books by Danielle Ofri