primary care medicine

Just a “Regular” Doctor

“What’s your specialty?” This question continually flummoxes me. This is the moment that I experience a brief surge of envy toward my cardiology and dermatology colleagues who have simple one-word answers to this question that any lay person can understand. More

A Doctor in the Neighborhood

There aren’t any ethical guidelines about where a doctor should live or how she should behave when she and her patient are in line at the grocery store. More

The “Mall-ification” of Health Care

Retail health clinics have exploded over the last 10 years, and now it seems like every other big box store, supermarket and shopping mall has its own clinic. More

The Physical Exam as Refuge

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

Doctor Priorities vs. Patient Priorities

The patient cheerfully admitted that he hadn’t been paying attention to his diabetes for the last few years. He’d stopped taking his medicine, stopped seeing his doctors, stopped thinking about the disease altogether. What happens when the patient’s priorities and the doctor’s priorities conflict? More

Lots of New Patients, Too Few Doctors

Getting a primary care doctor is hard these days, and will only get harder as more people get insurance via the ACA. This is a “problem” that we should welcome, since it means that more Americans will have access to care. But it won’t be an easy problem to solve. Here are some ideas that are being discussed. More

Medical Check-Ups: Waste of Time?

A new report concluded that general health checkups for adults did not help patients live longer or healthier lives. So is it time to scrap the annual medical check-up? More

Monday

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

A Day in the Clinic

8:30 a.m. Doing intakes—interviews with new patients to the clinic. First one is Carola Castaña, a petite thirty-five-year-old Brazilian who immigrated to the United States three months ago. She folds her hands in her lap as I begin to take her history. She understands my questions better if I ask in Spanish rather than English, but her Portuguese replies are Greek to me, so she struggles to answer in English. More

Neuron Overload

Sometimes it feels as though my brain is juggling so many competing details, that one stray request from a patient—even one that is quite relevant—might send the delicately balanced three-ring circus tumbling down. One day, I tried to work out how many details a doctor needs to keep spinning in her head in order to do a satisfactory job, by calculating how many thoughts I have to juggle in a typical office visit. More

ERs for Primary Care

George Bush once famously (or infamously) commented that health care is indeed available for all: You just go to the emergency room. More

At Bellevue, a hospital reflects a changing world

Though city hospitals invoke images of charity patients and substandard, last-resort medical care, the reality is quite different. More

The End of Private Practice?

A recent article in the New York Times noted a steady migration of doctors from private practice to hospital-owned health systems. The main driving force appears to be economic, that it is too difficult to run a business, especially when much of that entails fighting multiple insurance companies for reimbursement. Some of the older physicians … More

Interview about doctors, patients, books, and life

Listen to Joe Elia interview Danielle Ofri on Clinical Conversations (NEJM Journal Watch). They talk about the state of medicine, doctor-patient relationships, work-life balance, and the re-issue of her book “Singular Intimacies.” More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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