In Singular Intimacies, which the New England Journal of Medicine said captured the “essence of becoming and being a doctor,” Danielle Ofri led us into the hectic, constantly challenging world of big-city medicine. In Incidental Findings, she’s finished her training and is learning through practice to become a more rounded healer. The book opens with a dramatic tale of the tables being turned on Dr. Ofri: She’s had to shed the precious white coat and credentials she worked so hard to earn and enter her own hospital as a patient. She experiences the real’slight prick and pressure’ of a long needle as well as the very real sense of invasion and panic that routinely visits her patients.
These fifteen intertwined tales include “Living Will,” where Dr. Ofri treats a man who has lost the will to live, and she too comes dangerously close to concluding that he has nothing to live for; “Common Ground,” in which a patient’s difficult decision to have an abortion highlights the vulnerabilities of doctor and patient alike; “Acne,” where she is confronted by a patient whose physical and emotional abuse she can’t possibly heal, so she must settle on treating the one thing she can, the least of her patient’s problems; and finally a stunning concluding chapter, “Tools of the Trade,” where Dr. Ofri’s touch is the last in a woman’s long life.