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Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevueby Danielle Ofri
Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of Abraham Verghese and Atul Gawande, a gripping memoir of learning medicine in the trenches
Singular Intimacies is the story of becoming a doctor by immersion at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country—and perhaps the most legendary. It is both the classic inner-city hospital and a unique amalgam of history, insanity, beauty, and intellect. When Danielle Ofri enters these 250-year-old doors as a tentative medical student, she is immediately plunged into the teeming world of urban medicine: mysterious illnesses, life-and-death decisions, patients speaking any one of a dozen languages, overworked interns devising creative strategies to cope with the feverish intensity of a big-city hospital.
Yet the emphasis of Singular Intimacies is not so much on the arduous hours in medical training (which certainly exist here), but on the evolution of an instinct for healing. In a hospital without the luxury of private physicians, where patients lack resources both financial and societal, where poverty and social strife are as much a part of the pathology as any microbe, it is the medical students and interns who are thrust into the searing intimacy that is the doctor-patient relationship. In each memorable chapter, Ofris progress toward becoming an experienced healer introduces not just a patient in medical crisis, but a human being with an intricate and compelling history. Ofri learns to navigate the tangled vulnerabilities of doctor and patient, not simply battle the disease.
Dr. Danielle Ofri is an attending physician in the medical clinic at Bellevue, with an academic appointment at NYU. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, and her essays have been published in over a dozen literary and medical journals; one chapter of this book was selected by Stephen Jay Gould for The Best American Essays of 2002 and received the Missouri Review Editors Prize for Nonfiction. She is also associate chief editor of the award-winning textbook The Bellevue Guide to Outpatient Medicine.
About the Author
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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