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, and 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, Ofri’s 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 to simply battle the disease.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Singular IntimaciesPrologue 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 & M
Fourteen Intensive Care
Epilogue Possessing Her Words
What People are Saying About This
"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