incidental findings

Ethical Implications of Incidental Findings

Imagine that you volunteer for memory study and the fMRI also happens to find a life-threatening aneurysm. Your life is saved by the “incidental finding.” But what if tumor that may not be serious is incidentally found? The tumor may not be risky, but the surgery to remove it is. You spend the rest of your life haunted by the decision of whether to operate or whether to wait. What are the ethical implications of incidental findings? A Presidential Commission weighs in. More

Incidental Finding?

A small adrenal mass was “incidentally noted” on my patient’s CT. But once the incidentaloma had been given life, so to speak, it was no longer incidental. We were now obliged to run some highly complicated — and expensive — lab tests. More

Video: “Tools of the Trade”

Watch Danielle Ofri read the moving essay “Tools of the Trade” from her book Incidental Findings. More

New York Times review of “Incidental Findings”

Ofri’s thoughtful and honest second book…is equal parts “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and “Kitchen Confidential.” 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. More

Prairie Schooner review of “Incidental Findings”

Danielle Ofri is a shaman. She might balk at the title as a medical doctor, yet her essays grapple with moments when traditional medicine has failed her, when science seems no more than empty ritual, and she feels as blind as her patients to the mysteries of health and illness. In such moments, Ofri instinctively turns to her patients’ emotional anatomy: the tumors of despair, the hot blood of hope, the pulsing will to live. More

Bookworm Sez review of “Incidental Findings”

When I got this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. I loved Ofri’s first book, so I knew what awaited me and I wasn’t disappointed. Danielle Ofri writes with grace and gentle humor. She uses real medical terms, but she makes them easy to understand. She’s thoughtful and compassionate; the kind of physician everyone hopes to have. She’s willing to admit when she was wrong (or not quite right), which is something not a lot of doctors are brave enough to admit in public. More

NEJM review of “Incidental Findings”

Ofri reminds us that medicine is really about the bond between a patient and a physician. “Incidental Findings” is a beautiful book. Ofri has enough faith in her patients, her profession, and herself to tell it all. More

JAMA review of “Incidental Findings”

In several stories Ofri recounts her own experiences as a patient. She is surprised at how different things are on the other end of the doctor-patient relationship. Ofri discovers firsthand how poorly doctors prepare their patients for procedures and explain findings that may be ordinary in medicine but are frightening to patients.The writing is engaging, and I highly recommend Incidental Findings to anyone who wants to read a short, well-written, and thought-provoking book. More


I groan when I catch sight of her name on the patient roster. Nazma Uddin. Not again! She is in my clinic office almost every month. I dread her visits, and today is no exception. More

Tools of the Trade

I was ashamed to admit it, but I was perversely thankful for the numerous comatose patients on my service because they made rounds faster and left more time to concentrate on the active GI bleeders, the patients in DKA, the ones with gram-negative septicemia, and the ones who spoke English. More

Books by Danielle Ofri