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What Doctors Feel

How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine

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Hardcover published by Beacon Press (Beacon Press)

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About This Book

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.
 
 
 




From the Hardcover edition.
Show less

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.
 
 
 




From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Hardcover (232 pages)
Published: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Beacon Press
Imprint: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807073322
Other books byDanielle Ofri
  • Singular Intimacies

    Singular Intimacies
    Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue
    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.

    Incidental Findings

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

    The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review

    The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review
    “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. She lives in New York City.

    Medicine in Translation

    Medicine in Translation
    Journeys with My Patients
    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.

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