Review: "What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect The Practice of Medicine" by Danielle Ofri, MD

When I picked up this book, I expected a book full of technical mumbo-jumbo. I expected it to dull and boring, and honestly I had no intention of ever finishing it. It just something I started to take up my time. Boy, I was wrong. From the moment I read the first word, I was fascinated.

In What Doctors Feel, Dr. Ofri delves into the emotions of fear, shame, grief, anger, and being overwhelmed, and how they affect the doctors who experience them. But the book doesn’t stop with the doctors, it also deals with their patients.

“It could easily be argued that doctors are no more emotionally complex than accountants, plumbers, or the cable-repair guy, but the net result of doctors’ behavior – logical, emotional, irrational, or otherwise – can have life-and-death consequences for patients, which is to say, for all of us.” 

Each chapter deals with one the the five emotions that Dr. Ofri chooses to tackle. Intertwined with the analysis of behavior, is a story of one of Dr. Ofri’s own patients. With raw emotion, Dr. Ofri admits just how much her patient, Julia, meant to her and how her own emotions affected the way in which she dealt with Julia’s tragic disease. Dr. Ofri does not shy away from her own shortcomings; rather, she describes the times that her emotions have gotten the better of her in a remarkably honest way. Her observations are both profound and relatable even to those who aren’t in the medical field.
“Sadness and grief will never leave medicine, and, of course, it shouldn’t” 
Not only does Dr. Ofri explain her own mistakes, but she includes the personal stories of other doctors. But rather than placing the blame for medical mistakes due to emotional burnout on the doctors themselves, she places it on the system in which doctors are trained. She seems to believe that if emotions were more excepted in the medical field and if medical schools acknowledged the various young doctors would have then maybe, just maybe, patients would not feel the effects of their doctors’ tense nerves. 
Bottom Line: What Doctors Feel is a short, interesting read for perfect for anyone wanting to better understand the emotional pressures that doctors experience in their day-to-day life. It isn’t a must read, but it is definitely something interesting to read. 
Love and Happy Reading, 



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