This book is exactly what it claims to be in the title. Dr. Ofri gives us fifteen clinical tales, each of which describes a lesson she has learned from a patient or from her own experience as a patient. It is an extension of her first book, Singular Intimacies: On Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue (see this database) and relates to her experiences after she completes residency training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, to which she eventually returns as a staff physician. Three of the stories are examples of how a physician experiences the patient role, including one in which she relates an early personal experience to that of a patient she cares for ("Common Ground").

Since Ofri served as several locum-tenens, some of the stories take her to rural communities and small towns but most concern experiences with patients at Bellevue in clinics or in the hospital. She also discusses the challenges and limitations of teaching the next generation of doctors at Bellevue ("Terminal Thoughts").


I have used Danielle Ofri's Singular Intimacies as required reading for junior and senior medical students and the students have found it interesting and useful. Incidental Findings may be more appropriate for residents and young physicians; it may help them to become more rounded healers. It has many lessons for both physicians and patients and is very well written.


For a video of a reading of the essay "Tools of the Trade," see



Place Published




Page Count