Journal of Medical Humanities 41 (2):171-178 (2020)

Abstract
This essay begins with a metaphor describing who enters the field of humanities in medicine and healthcare and the types of work they do. The role of witness is discussed, underscoring tensions between witnessing and analyzing. The essay then turns to my own background as an example of how each professional in this field brings something distinct. I briefly describe the three basic principles of my work with narrative: the injunction to keep the stories in the foreground, the work of amplifying and connecting stories, and the need for generous interpretation. The second half of the essay tells three illness stories, describing their importance to me over several decades. These stories are by Audre Lorde, Reynolds Price, and Stewart Alsop, dealing with problems of silences imposed on ill people, problems caused by physicians’ perceived lack of time, and dilemmas of the end of life, respectively.
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DOI 10.1007/s10912-019-09556-y
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