Singular Intimacies

Singular Intimacies

Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142004388
  • 256 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


When Danielle Ofri enters the doors of New York’s legendary Bellevue Hospital as a tentative medical student, she is plunged into the teeming world of urban medicine: mysterious illnesses, patients speaking any one of a dozen languages, overworked interns devising audacious strategies to cope with the intensity of a big-city hospital. In a facility 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. With each chapter, Ofri introduces us to a new medical crisis and a human being with an intricate and compelling history.
Singular Intimacies

Singular Intimacies

Danielle Ofri


“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

Table of Contents

Singular IntimaciesPrologue Possessing Her Words

One Drawing Blood
Two AA Battery
Three Stuck
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.
Ten Immunity
Eleven Finding the Person
Twelve Positive
Thirteen M & M
Fourteen Intensive Care
Fifteen Merced

Epilogue Possessing Her Words