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This highly acclaimed book examines how the quality of medical care is influenced by what doctors feel—the fear, anxiety, empathy, and even love that impact patient care
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. 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 understanding doctors’ emotional responses to the life-and-death dramas of everyday practice can make all the difference on giving and getting the best medical care.
Digging deep into the lives of doctors, Dr. Danielle 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. Ofri offers up an unflinching look at the impact of emotions on health care.
Dr. Ofri takes us into the swirling heart of patient care, telling stories of caregivers caught up and occasionally torn down by the whirlwind life of doctoring. She admits to the humiliation of an error that nearly killed one of her patients. She mourns when a beloved patient is denied a heart transplant. She tells the riveting stories of an intern traumatized when she is forced to let a newborn die in her arms, and of a doctor whose daily glass of wine to handle the frustrations of the ER escalates into a destructive addiction. Ofri also reveals that doctors cope through gallows humor, find hope in impossible situations, and surrender to ecstatic happiness when they triumph over illness.