Issue #33, 2007

Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives

The essays collected in Silence Kills present a compelling, and often frightening, look at the lack of communication and understanding currently plaguing the American health care system.

These stories explore a wide and complicated range of experiences—a doctor is pressured into sending a patient home from the emergency room but later must face his decision when the patient suddenly dies; a physician deals with the doubt brought on by a malpractice lawsuit and must come to terms with the fact that even doctors are fallible and human; a woman fights for her mother’s mental health against a system eager to over-medicate the elderly; and more—but all share one thing: a frustration with a system that hinders communication and often leads to unnecessary suffering.

In this issue, we also introduce a new section in the journal, "Keeping It Real," with three new features: "Spotlight On...," "Ask an Editor," and "Notes on Craft." Silence Kills is also available as a hardcover book from SMU Press, with 2 additional essays, as well as in an unabridged MP3 CD format—please note that the book contains special essays not found in the journal issue.

Table of Contents

FROM THE EDITOR Lee Gutkind ... read more
Foreword: Toward a More Caring, and Curing, Health System Karen Wolk Feinstein
Introduction Abraham Verghese
The Good Doctor Helena Studer
Mrs. Kelly Paul Austin
Non Pro Nobis John D. Bess ... read more
Saving My Breath Tamara Dean ... read more
Watching My Mother Hallucinate Diana Hume George ... read more
Foreign Bodies Grace Talusan
You Have the Right to Remain Silent Pamela Skjolsvik
See the Difference Sue William Silverman
In Praise of Osmosis Jill Drumm
KEEPING IT REAL: Thoughts about the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing Creative Nonfiction


Paul Austin

Paul Austin has worked in emergency care for thirty years, first as a firefighter and now as a physician. His book about the way his job... read more

John D. Bess

John D. Bess received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, where he still teaches various writing courses. He is finishing his first... read more

Tamara Dean

Tamara Dean earned her MFA in Fiction Writing from Vermont College and writes fiction, essays, and technical books. Her creative nonfiction... read more

Jill Drumm

Jill Drumm is a poet and writer living in Fort Myers, Florida. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International... read more

Karen Wolk Feinstein

Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD is president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its two supporting organizations, the... read more

Diana Hume George

Diana Hume George is the author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America, and author or editor of a number of other books of poetry,... read more

Meredith Hall

Meredith Hall's memoir, Without a Map, was recently published by Beacon Press in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The... read more

Merilee D. Karr

Merliee D. Karr is a health and science journalist, family physician, playwright, and dramaturge. She has published in the Journal of... read more

Karen Rosica

Karen Rosica is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She has done interviews for New Letters on the Air: a literary... read more

Sue William Silverman

Sue William Silverman’s new memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, is a finalist in Foreword Reviews... read more

Pamela Skjolsvik

Pamela Skjolsvik lives in southwest Colorado with her husband and their two children. "You Have the Right to Remain Silent" is her first... read more

Helena Studer

Helena Studer, a former assistant professor of pediatrics, no longer practices pediatrics. She is currently at work on a collection of... read more

Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan was following in the footsteps of her physician parents until her last premedical school requirement: Organic Chemistry II.... read more

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese is the director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San... read more


"Artful writing as well as the detailed reporting"

New Pages

February 23, 2008

Devoted to the theme “Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives,” this issue proves editor Lee Gutkind’s premise... read more


Association of College and Research Libraries

March 2008

This compilation of life stories of people seeking treatment for illnesses accurately portrays the many aggravating factors that... read more