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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

©2013 Danielle Ofri (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Brittany
  • Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 01-31-15

From a non-burnt out physicians perspective...

I think this is great for medical students to read, but not for experienced caring doctors. To the physicians out there: It's essentially a story of how to feel for your patients again… If you feel very far from your ability to do that, then this is a good read for you. I felt it was like a review of the empathy taught in doctoring 1 of medical school. Her choice of words at times seemed out of place and awkward, but was overall well constructed. I felt she did touch on most areas of medicine that physicians struggle with emotionally.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful, colourful, expansive, and refreshing.

In the university world, Medicine is thought to be the pinnacle of achievement by most "science" students (the brackets are a question of how many love science and how many actually just love the prestige and wealth that Medicine offers). This book opens the tightly sealed lid that covers the innards of Medicine: the achievement, the complexity, and the pitfalls outside of a simple diagnosis. Dr. Ofri seeks to show readers that doctors must always teeter on the narrow fulcrums of sensitivity and objectivity, emotional investment and emotional isolation, cooperation and independence, and etc. Physicians have it rough, or at least the ones that care. Really great book, here. I'll be back for more of her writing. Also, the narrator was vibrant, clear, and natural; I often found myself convinced that I was listening to Dr. Ofri herself.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • United States
  • 07-17-14

Worth the Listen, but not quite what I expected

Would you listen to What Doctors Feel again? Why?

No but no regrets

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The entire pace of book lacked dynamics. No real change for ending.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

While muti-tasking, good serial listen. No challenge to stop & pick up again.

Any additional comments?

The memoir lacks dimension & depth into the doctor whose story we hear (with jerky gaps). I found empathy topic quite interesting. Which doctors are or are not sued, good trivia info. Focus on two patients too narrow. Narrator very good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An insightful read to broaden perspectives

Would you listen to What Doctors Feel again? Why?

Thought-provoking and poignant, Dr. Ofri truly highlights the stress and emotion humans endure from specialization. I work in a technical field and I know what it's like to be in your own little bubble. You think your life's rough. There's a rush for deadlines. There's always communication issues. You have to worry about safety concerns when you've only had limited sleep (or none, depends on the schedule). You'll see some of your buddies go to the dark side: drugs, suicide, alcohol, negligence. It was profoundly interesting for me to learn about how some doctors resolved or endured these problems in their own unique setting.

What I enjoyed most about this book, however, is that Dr. Ofri makes you empathize with both the doctors AND the patients. If you're a patient, you probably have a multitude of problems, especially if it's so severe, you end up at the hospital. You're shot down or disrespected by the medical staff. You might be too proud to cooperate with them; I don't got any pain. Every day at the hospital costs money. I need to get out of here.

It was a nauseating, gut-wrenching feeling for me when I realized there have been days when I was unprofessional like some of the docs in the story. Nothing major; small tidbits, outbursts you didn't mean, ignoring your family for a few hours. Or like some of the patients who felt too entitled (need the impossible to happen from docs or family). Every day's a learning experience.

Honestly, this is a book that can help you ruminate about your life, find out more about another aspect of society, and think about how you can become a better person. Keep an open-mind.

What was one of the most memorable moments of What Doctors Feel?

The lady who was mis-diagnosed and felt angry that the medical staff didn't know how to cure her (rare cancer). Therefore they treated her awkwardly. It's kind of like how the citizens hated the US Treasury during the Recession (with the bailouts). Americans [the patient] have no faith in the gov. [doctor] in 2008, and the Treasury, like the medical staff, are doing scheme after scheme, trial after trial, to fix the problem. But going through these trials and waiting, waiting, waiting, is exhausting.

Have you listened to any of Andi Arndt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

She has a clear, distinctive voice. I played it in 1.25x speed and enjoyed it. It seemed like the author was reading her work to me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Empathy, Anxiety, Disillusionment

Which scene was your favorite?

I was particularly fond of Dr. Ofri's discussion of the research regarding physician empathy for their patients and how it varies widely among medical specialties. The chapter on physician disillusionment was also very good.

Any additional comments?

Their were a few stressful, anxiety-provoking passages that made me cringe. If these sections are difficult for you, I recommend you power through them. The rest of the book is worth it!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A must read for patients and medical professionals

As a Physician Assistant, I can relate to so much in this book and there is so much I have learned from this book! I think all patients should seek to understand what their healthcare providers go through, as healthcare providers should seek to understand what their patient's go through. This book is a great start for both patients and healthcare providers.

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I cried.

Wether you are a med student, doctor or adventurous reader , this series of stories and reflections of what it's like to be be a doctor is a must-read.

Particularly, the book is very helpful in defending doctors who are constantly thrown under the bus when unpredictable events happen . As giving , civil servants , doctors are expected to put away their emotions and retrieve them on cue , when the situation calls for them.

When Ava held that dying infant in the supply closet, I couldn't help but break down in tears. What would be more humane to do ? Allowing the newborn to die on a cold, sterile cart to make the process quicker would certainly be the more reasonable choice. Ava allows emotion and love to overpower her choice and ends up scooping the baby into her arms and hugging it until the last heartbeat is registered, more than 15 minutes later. That baby would experience love, even if it came at a painfully expensive price . I just cried. It was an ultimate battle between love and reason, with no obvious answer.

Treating patients is not just about remembering which needle is for which injection- it is finding a balance between emotion and reason. To be a whole healthcare provider who is able to administer the best care to patients, this balance is essential.

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The Narrator is Amazing!

I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks on audible and this has to be one of the best narrators I've found yet. The book is great too.

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  • A. Haase
  • Denver, CO United States
  • 04-03-16

lovely book

Superb analysis of what it means to be human and a doctor and its ramifications.

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an important book about empathy

an excellent shook with an interesting stories. I never felt bored listening to it. The narration was super excellent

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  • Nathan
  • 09-04-16

Beautiful.

Within the pages of this book are lessons I shall never forget. For any person vaguely interested in the way a doctor functions on a day to day basis this is for you. If you wish to understand how doctors suffer slings and arrows yet continue to march onward for the glimmer of hope and joy, for triumph against all odds, this is for you. Thank you Doctor Ofrey and Audible in extension, this has been life changing.

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