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Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    Gorgeous Prose, transformational experiences

    If you would like to be transported by the human condition, if you would like to take a glimpse into the oldest public hospital in the U.S., if you would like to know that there are doctors out there who are compassionate, funny, wise, accurate and poetic, then this is a must-read book. And if none of that intrigues you, then you should read it nonetheless. Dr. Ofri takes what could be ordinary encounters in her practice as a resident at Bellevue Hospital and transforms those encounters into stories for everyone to see a reflection of themselves, to note how the relationship between patient and doctor, between writer and reader can be intimate, meaningful and fulfilling. Read it for yourself, then take your book to your next doctor's appointment and hand it over, and hope that the next time you see your doctor, you will feel a little more of the human touch, human understand, and human connection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2003

    Highly recommended

    Danielle Ofri is an exceptional writer who writes with style, warmth, honesty, and clarity. Although the book describes unrelated incidents that occurred during her intern and residency training to become a doctor, each chapter flows into the next almost like a novel. It is highly recommended for all medical students, interns, and residents because it shows that one only becomes a competent physician through actually applying what is taught in medical school, keeping in mind that all patients are human with their own feelings and fears.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2003

    Strong Writing and Great Stories

    If you have ever wondered what medical training is like, if you have ever fantasized about becoming a doctor, or if you just love strong writing and great stories, this is a book for you. Singular Intimacies takes us inside the emotional and intellectual heart of a doctor as she makes her journey from medical student to resident physician during her training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. As a physician and poet who learned to practice medicine at similar inner-city hospitals, I can assure any reader that Dr. Ofri's descriptions of the clinical situations she encounters (including the array of patients, diagnostic dilemmas, clinical conversations, and moments of genuine love and exhilaration), all ring true for me: patients recover unexpectedly from what seem to be fatal illnesses; they die without warning and without having an accurate diagnosis; and they laugh, bleed, masturbate, cooperate, and act up in every imaginable (and unimaginable) way. Through all these experiences, Dr. Ofri shares her own personal responses which vary from her sense of pride when she begins to experience a sense of mastery, to moments of intense anxiety and despair. I found myself re-experiencing my own excitement, fear, and sleep-deprivation, only this time with a compassionate guide, one who is strong enough to let herself laugh at gallows humor, and also be vulnerable enough to cry in the arms of a priest as the patient's family watches. And I celebrated when Dr. Ofri finally finished her training , bruised and calloused, but with the compassionate heart and voice of a healer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2003


    A beautiful collection of stories from the hospital world. Dr Ofri provides a clear view of the resident experience as well as a vivid tales of many patient experiences. I enjoyed the novel very much and highly recommend it to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2003


    Editor of the Bellevue Literary Review (one of the best journals being published today), Danielle Ofri proves herself an excellent author as well. As a nurse practitioner, I've watched many a med student make the transition from timid learner to accomplished physician. Ofri captures this process beautifully, along the way revealing herself as caring, humorous, and human. Among the many books by physicians, this one stands out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    Doctors are people, too

    Danielle Ofri's peek into the making of a physician at Bellevue is clear and compelling. We are caught up in the quivering overwhelm of a novice thrown into the arena of life and death, expected to assess, make decisions, and live with them. Progressing from medical student to intern to resident, we are privy to Ofri's learning by the seat of her pants, to how she absorbs the hard lesson of how to treat with compassion even those patients who are difficult to like, to her sense of wonder as she realizes she is gaining expertise and confidence. In this era of physicians bent on appearing as if they are always in control and on top of things, Ofri bravely exposes her passion, her caring, and her vulnerability as she finds her way through the sometimes dark tunnels of medical academia. As a struggling neophyte, she seems to silently bear her trials without comment. It is gratifying to see that the more confident graduating resident finds her voice, standing up to those who make the system difficult. 'Singular Intimacies' can help budding and practicing physicians to be better doctors. And from learning that doctors are people, too, patients can learn to be better patients.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2003


    Danielle Ofri goes where others fear to tread: here we have a doctor talking about the suffering and pain her patients experience by making their pain her own. Ofri GOES there. As a childhood survivor of polio, I knew the opposite treatment which leads to isolation, the worst suffering of any disease. We have come a long way from 1951: but not far enough. Ofri knows this and SHOWS this to the reader, through writing which is clear as glass, by sharing her apprenticeship with us; by writing such chapters on becoming a doctor at Bellevue as the opening one, 'Drawing Blood,' where she openly speaks of Zalman Wiszhinsky being her 'first victim.' Ofri shows us how this victimization is tranformed into the intimacy between patient and doctor which pushes the envelope, putting a compassionate, contemporary spin on medicine: making of doctor and patient not executioner and victim, but a team of two human beings, a pair, bent upon one goal: healing, or enduring, or passing through pain into peace. In subsequent chapters, Danielle Ofri elaborates on how she establishes a relationship with her patients which is both singular and intimate, justifying the title of this tender yet white-hot collection. All doctors should read it. All interns, residents, and most importantly all patients should read it, so that the isolation is finally broken.) This is that rare gift: a book by an M.D. which is close to a poet's memoir: in these pages, an arc of words 'shimmers' in air, and a patient's history 'settles softly into mine,' is absorbed by the one who recounts that story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2003

    Singular Intimacies

    The beauty and clarity of Danielle Ofri's writing convey the immediacy of her experiences during her clinical training in medicine at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. In the complex, somewhat chaotic environment of a large city teaching hospital not necessarily conducive to reflective compassionate care, she values the innate resilient sensitivity and compassion within herself that complement the technical proficiencies she is developing. Her responsiveness to the interpersonal side of medicine enriches for her her professional role, and the patients under her care are beneficiaries. A rich perspective and wit enhance this wondrous rendering of the interpersonal nature of doctor-patient relationships.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2003

    A glimpse into the doctor's world

    It's not often that one is given the opportunity to visit the medical world through the honest eyes of a person willing to share the adventure in the way that Danielle Ofri has done in her collection of stories. We are so accustomed to viewing our doctors as pillars of knowledge and confidence that it's often difficult to understand that the learning curve is a very steep one for people who want to be the good doctor. In these stories, we are invited to be witness to the journey of one very sensitive woman, a person who is willing message the feet of an ailing patient when she was uncertain of how else she could help as she begins her odessey towards becoming the doctor she ultimately becomes. Her stories are compelling and very readable, each one a drama of its own. Her talent is to be able to see what lies behind the list of symptoms that a patient presents, to understand that each person represents a complexity of life that can be presented on these pages and to tell each story with a respectable amount of techincal information that I found especially interesting. I enjoyed her insights, her humor and her profound honesty about herself and the profession that she has chosen.

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