Synopses & Reviews
When Danielle Ofri enters the doors of New York's legendary Bellevue Hospital as a tentative medical student, she is plunged into the teeming world of urban medicine: mysterious illnesses, patients speaking any one of a dozen languages, overworked interns devising audacious strategies to cope with the intensity of a big-city hospital. In a facility 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. With each chapter, Ofri introduces us to a new medical crisis and a human being with an intricate and compelling history.
Danielle Ofri is a finely gifted writer, a born storyteller as well as a born physician, and through these fifteen brilliantly written episodes, we get not only a deep sense of the high drama of life and death, but a feeling for the making of a physicians mind and soul. (Oliver Sacks, M.D.) The essence of becoming and being a doctor. (New England Journal of Medicine)
"Danielle Ofri is a finely gifted writer, a born storyteller as well as a born physician, and through these fifteen brilliantly written episodes, we get not only a deep sense of the high drama of life and death, but a feeling for the making of a physician’s mind and soul." —Oliver Sacks, M.D.
"These essays. . . resonate with insight, intelligence, humor and an extraordinary sensitivity to both the patients she treated in this inner-city facility and the staff she worked with. . . .Ofri brings to this memoir a combination of medical information and some very expressive writing. . . The pieces in this powerful collection are tied together by the struggle of a clearly gifted physician to master the complexities of healing." —Publishers Weekly
"Ofri is a gifted writer. Her vignettes ring with truth, and for any physician or patient who knows the dramas of a big-city hospital they will evoke tears, laughter, and memories. Indeed, any reader, physician or not, will find in Singular Intimacies the essence of becoming and being a doctor." —Robert S. Schwartz, New England Journal of Medicine
"...[Ofri's] writing tumbles forth with color and emotion. She demonstrates an ear for dialogue, humility about the limits of her medical training, and an extraordinary capacity to be touched by human suffering...Ofri's book is an important addition to the literary canon of medicine." —Jan Gardner, Boston Globe
About the Author
Danielle Ofri, MD PhD, is an attending physician in the medical clinic at Bellevue Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. She divides her time between seeing patients, teaching medical students and residents, editing and writing.
Dr. Ofri was born in New York City. She studied physiology as an undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal. She spent the next decade at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital for her medical and scientific education. She obtained her PhD in biochemistry along with her MD, followed by a residency in internal medicine.
After residency, Dr. Ofri spent nearly two years traveling. She worked as a free-lance physician in a variety of communities from East Hampton to rural New Mexico. In between job assignments she spent time in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru learning Spanish for her eventual return to inner-city medicine. During her travels she dragged along her laptop, grateful to finally have time to write down the stories that had accumulated during her years at Bellevue. These stories have been published in numerous literary and medical journals, and are now collected in book form.
Dr. Ofri has a particular interest in the relationship of literature and medicine. She has introduced a program encouraging medical students to experiment with literary descriptions of patient encounters to help explore the complexities of illness.
Dr. Ofri is one of the founders and the Editor-in-Chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, a literary journal devoted to writings about the human body, illness, health and healing. She is also Associate Chief Editor of the Bellevue Guide to Outpatient Medicine, a textbook of internal medicine published by British Medical Journal Publications. Additionally, she has developed a bilingual collection of educational materials for patients.
Table of Contents
Singular Intimacies Prologue
Possessing Her Words
One Drawing Blood
Two AA Battery
Four Change of Heart
Five July 1st
Six The Professor of Denial
Seven The Burden of Knowledge
Eight In Charge
Nine Time of Death: 3:27 A.M.
Eleven Finding the Person
Thirteen M and M
Fourteen Intensive Care
Epilogue Possessing Her Words