Silence Kills

Speaking Out and Saving Lives

Edited by Lee Gutkind

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. Silence Kills is also available unabridged in MP3 CD format, and as Issue #33 of Creative Nonfiction—please note that the book contains special essays not found in the journal issue.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note Lee Gutkind
Foreword: Toward a More Caring, and Curing, Health System Karen Wolk Feinstein
Introduction Abraham Verghese
The Good Doctor Helena Studer
Missing Merilee D. Karr
Mrs. Kelly Paul Austin
Non Pro Nobis John D. Bess
Saving My Breath Tamara Dean
Watching My Mother Hallucinate Diana Hume George
Foreign Bodies Grace Talusan
You Have the Right to Remain Silent Pamela Skjolsvik
See the Difference Sue William Silverman
Keeping Up Appearances Leslie Einhaus
Do No Harm Pamela Lane
In Praise of Osmosis Jill Drumm


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

Leslie Einhaus

Leslie Einhaus is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Idaho. She also is employed as a writer/editor in the... 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

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

Pamela Lane

Pamela Lane is a freelance editor and writing coach and a writer/producer for television. She is a published poet at work on her first... 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



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

"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


Missing Merilee D. Karr

I stared down at my name neatly typed next to... read more

Non Pro Nobis John D. Bess

The entire nursing staff was gathered in the... read more

Saving My Breath Tamara Dean

The neurologist was haughty and young and his... read more

Watching My Mother Hallucinate Diana Hume George

“You look so much like your mom,”... read more