Incidental Findings: Lessons from My Patients in the Art of Medicine

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Beacon Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 179 pages
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In Singular Intimacies, which the New England Journal of Medicine said captured the “essence of becoming and being a doctor,” Danielle Ofri led us into the hectic, constantly challenging world of big-city medicine. In Incidental Findings, she’s finished her training and is learning through practice to become a more rounded healer. The book opens with a dramatic tale of the tables being turned on Dr. Ofri: She’s had to shed the precious white coat and credentials she worked so hard to earn and enter her own hospital as a patient. She experiences the real “slight prick and pressure” of a long needle as well as the very real sense of invasion and panic that routinely visits her patients.

These fifteen intertwined tales include “Living Will,” where Dr. Ofri treats a man who has lost the will to live, and she too comes dangerously close to concluding that he has nothing to live for; “Common Ground,” in which a patient’s difficult decision to have an abortion highlights the vulnerabilities of doctor and patient alike; “Acne,” where she is confronted by a patient whose physical and emotional abuse she can’t possibly heal, so she must settle on treating the one thing she can, the least of her patient’s problems; and finally a stunning concluding chapter, “Tools of the Trade,” where Dr. Ofri’s touch is the last in a woman’s long life.
 

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Ofri examines all the parts of being a medical doctor that disturb her in the series of essays that make up this book. Why do doctors ignore the parts of life of their patients that take place outside ... Read full review

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Contents

LIVING WILL
11
COMMON GROUND
25
ACNE
38
A DAY IN THE CLINIC
41
THE JOURNEY
60
TORMENT
68
VISION
75
TERMINAL THOUGHTS
94
IN HER OWN KEY
108
SAT
132
TENDRILS
141
MISSING THE FINAL ACT
152
EMIGRATION
157
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
170
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
177
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About the author (2005)

Dr. Danielle Ofri, author of Singular Intimacies (Beacon / 7252-4 / $24.00 hc), is an attending physician at Bellevue and the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review. She is currently a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and the New England Journal of Medicine.

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