• Singular Intimacies

  • Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue
  • By: Danielle Ofri MD
  • Narrated by: Ann M. Richardson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Singular Intimacies  By  cover art

Singular Intimacies

By: Danielle Ofri MD
Narrated by: Ann M. Richardson
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Publisher's summary

A “finely gifted writer” shares “fifteen brilliantly written episodes covering the years from studenthood to the end of medical residency” (Oliver Sacks, MD, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat)

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.

©2003 Danielle Ofri (P)2018 Beacon Press

Critic reviews

“What is it like to become a doctor? Danielle Ofri answers with candor and humility and pride. This book should be required reading by anyone contemplating a life in medicine.” —Richard Selzer, surgeon and author of Letters to a Young Doctor

“Any reader, physician or not, will find in Singular Intimacies the essence of becoming and being a doctor.” —Robert S. Schwartz, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine

“Her vivid and moving prose enriches the mind and turn the heart. We are privileged to journey with her from her days as a student to her emergence as a physician working among those most in need.” —Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think

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What listeners say about Singular Intimacies

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bit too much self absorption

The process of medical training was interesting, as were many of the patient stories, but I tired of the constant stream of insecurities the author shared. The fear of being inexperienced in a high pressure environment was clearly understood and could have used up less space in an otherwise nice read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Honest, kind, and refreshing

As an intern, I love hearing attendings reflect on their shortcomings and struggles during medical training. I have many. It’s refreshing to know I am not alone in that

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too Many Words Obscure Story

I have read and enjoyed Ofri's more recent works, but this must be one of her early books.. She provides so much detail about her every waking (and sometimes not waking) moments that I can't remember where she is in her story. This book is close to 10 hours in length but could easily be 4 hours. I gave up after 2 hours as the details were too mundane and detracted from her stories.

I use books like this in a narrative medicine class. I would use this as an example of what not to do, but my students just don't have time to devote to meaningless detail and Ofri's use of words for words sake.

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