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The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review

by Danielle Ofri

"A kaleidoscope of creativity ... unsentimental and sometimes unpredictable." -Journal of the American Medical Association. Founded just six years ago, Bellevue Literary Review is already widely recognized as a rare forum for emerging and celebrated writers--among them Julia Alvarez, Raphael Campo, Rick Moody, and Abraham Verghese--on issues of health and healing. Gathered here are poignant and prizewinning stories, essays, and poems, the voices of patients and those who care for them, which form the journal's remarkable dialogue on "humanity and the human experience." Danielle Ofri, MD, author of Incidental Findings and Singular Intimacies, is the editor in chief of Bellevue Literary Review.

Incidental Findings

by Danielle Ofri

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.From the Hardcover edition.

Intensive Care

by Danielle Ofri

New York Times WellBlog regular contributor, Danielle Ofri has been praised for turning the triumphs and trials of medicine into riveting and compassionate stories. This e-book exclusive edition offers 98 pages of her best work. This eBook original exhibits Danielle Ofri's range and skill as a storyteller as well as her empathy and astuteness as a doctor. Her vivid prose brings the reader into bustling hospitals, tense exam rooms, and Ofri's own life, giving an up-close look at the fast-paced, life-and-death drama of becoming a doctor. She tells of a young man uncertain of his future who comes into the clinic with a stomach complaint but for whom Dr. Ofri sees that the most useful "treatment" she can offer him is SAT tutoring. She writes of a desperate struggle to communicate with a critically ill patient who only speaks Mandarin, of a doctor whose experience in the NICU leaves her paralyzed with PTSD, and of her own struggles with the fear of making fatal errors, the dangers of overconfidence, and the impossible attempts to balance the empathy necessary for good care with the distance necessary for self-preservation. Through these stories of her patients, colleagues, and her own experiences, Intensive Care offers poignant insight into the medical world, and into the hearts and minds of doctors and their patients. These stories are drawn from the author's previous books and one is from her forthcoming book, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine.

Medicine in Translation

by Danielle Ofri

From a doctor Oliver Sacks has called a "born storyteller," a riveting account of practicing medicine at a fast-paced urban hospital For two decades, Dr. Danielle Ofri has cared for patients at Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the country and a crossroads for the world's cultures. In Medicine in Translation she introduces us, in vivid, moving portraits, to her patients, who have braved language barriers, religious and racial divides, and the emotional and practical difficulties of exile in order to access quality health care. Living and dying in the foreign country we call home, they have much to teach us about the American way, in sickness and in health.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients

by Danielle Ofri

For two decades, Dr. Danielle Ofri has cared for patients at Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the country and a crossroads for the world's cultures. In Medicine in Translation, she introduces us, in vivid, moving portraits, to the patients she has known. They have braved language barriers, religious and racial divides, and the emotional and practical difficulties of exile in order to access quality health care. Sharing their journeys with them over the years, Danielle has witnessed some of their best and worst moments, and come to admire their resilience and courageous spirit. Danielle introduces us to her patients: Samuel Nwanko, who was brutally attacked by a Nigerian cult in his homeland and is attempting to create a new life in America; Jade Collier, an Aussie who refuses to let a small thing like a wheelchair keep her from being a homegrown ambassador to New York City; Julia Barquero, a Guatemalan woman who migrated to the States to save her disabled son but cannot obtain the lifesaving heart transplant she needs because she is undocumented. We meet a young Muslim woman threatened at knifepoint for wearing her veil, and the spitfire Señora Estrella, one of Danielle's many Spanish-speaking patients, whose torrent of words helps seal Danielle's resolve to improve her own Spanish, an essential skill in today's urban hospitals. And so she, her husband, and their two young children and seventy-five-pound dog relocate to Costa Rica, where they discover potholes the size of their New York City apartment, a casual absence of street signs or even street names, tangy green-skinned limon dulce dangling in the playground, and sudden rains surging over the craggy edges of roadside ditches. Ultimately, Danielle experiences being a patient in a foreign country when she gives birth to their third child, a "Costarricense" girl. With controversy over immigrants in our society escalating, and debate surrounding health-care reform becoming increasingly urgent, Ofri's riveting stories about her patients could not be more timely. Living and dying in the foreign country we call home, they have much to teach us about the American way, in sickness and in health.

Singular Intimacies

by Danielle Ofri

Singular Intimacies is the story of becoming a doctor by immersion at New York's Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country. When Danielle Ofri first enters the doors as a medical student, she is immediately plunged into the teeming world of urban medicine. It is here that Dr. Ofri develops a profound instinct for healing and, above all, learns to navigate the tangled vulnerabilities of doctor and patient.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue

by Danielle Ofri

In a series of fifteen essays, Ofri traces her evolution as a physician, from frightened medical student to confident senior resident. Her training is conducted at Bellevue in Manhattan, where she treats a vast cross-section of society. Each essay focuses on her treatment of and interactions with a particular patient, and shows her emotional growth as well as her acquisition of medical knowledge. In the course of the book Ofri struggles to come to terms with her own helplessness before the inevitability of death.

What Doctors Feel

by Danielle Ofri

A look at the emotional side of medicine--the shame, fear, anger, anxiety, empathy, and even love that affect patient care Physicians are assumed to be objective, rational beings, easily able to detach as they guide patients and families through some of life's most challenging moments. But doctors' emotional responses to the life-and-death dramas of everyday practice have a profound impact on medical care. And while much has been written about the minds and methods of the medical professionals who save our lives, precious little has been said about their emotions. In What Doctors Feel, Dr. Danielle Ofri has taken on the task of dissecting the hidden emotional responses of doctors, and how these directly influence patients. How do the stresses of medical life--from paperwork to grueling hours to lawsuits to facing death--affect the medical care that doctors can offer their patients? Digging deep into the lives of doctors, Ofri examines the daunting range of emotions--shame, anger, empathy, frustration, hope, pride, occasionally despair, and sometimes even love--that permeate the contemporary doctor-patient connection. Drawing on scientific studies, including some surprising research, Dr. Danielle Ofri offers up an unflinching look at the impact of emotions on health care. With her renowned eye for dramatic detail, Dr. Ofri takes us into the swirling heart of patient care, telling stories of caregivers caught up and occasionally torn down by the whirlwind life of doctoring. She admits to the humiliation of an error that nearly killed one of her patients and her forever fear of making another. She mourns when a beloved patient is denied a heart transplant. She tells the riveting stories of an intern traumatized when she is forced to let a newborn die in her arms, and of a doctor whose daily glass of wine to handle the frustrations of the ER escalates into a destructive addiction. But doctors don't only feel fear, grief, and frustration. Ofri also reveals that doctors tell bad jokes about "toxic sock syndrome," cope through gallows humor, find hope in impossible situations, and surrender to ecstatic happiness when they triumph over illness. The stories here reveal the undeniable truth that emotions have a distinct effect on how doctors care for their patients. For both clinicians and patients, understanding what doctors feel can make all the difference in giving and getting the best medical care. Praise for Danielle Ofri "The world of patient and doctor exists in a special sacred space. Danielle Ofri brings us into that place where science and the soul meet. Her vivid and moving prose enriches the mind and turns the heart." --Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think "Danielle Ofri is a finely gifted writer, a born storyteller as well as a born physician." --Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings "Danielle Ofri ... is dogged, perceptive, unafraid, and willing to probe her own motives, as well as those of others. This is what it takes for a good physician to arrive at the truth, and these same qualities make her an essayist of the first order." --Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone "Danielle Ofri has so much to say about the remarkable intimacies between doctor and patient, about the bonds and the barriers, and above all about how doctors come to understand their powers and their limitations." --Perri Klass, MD, author of A Not Entirely Benign Procedure "Her writing tumbles forth with color and emotion. She demonstrates an ear for dialogue, a humility about the limits of her medical training, and an extraordinary capacity to be touched by human suffering." --Jan Gardner, Boston Globe From the Hardcover edition.

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