Writing About the End of Life: May Not Be Fun, But It Is Important #AHCJ13

Posted on 03/19/2013

Covering Health (AHCJ Blog): It’s one of the certainties of life: everyone’s going to die. And most of us also will deal with the deaths of a family member or loved one.

Writing about death, and the care people receive at the end of their lives, isn’t fun, but it’s important, Lisa Krieger, a science and medicine writer for the San Jose Mercury News, said at Health Journalism 2013 on Friday afternoon.

“It matters to us,” Krieger said. “It matters to the dying and it really matters to the surviving.”

Krieger moderated a panel featuring Muriel Gillick, a physician at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Ellen Goodman, the co-founder of a project that encourages people to talk about their end-of-life care wishes.

Goodman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, co-founded the Conversation Project with the goal of getting people to hear and respect people’s end-of-life care choices. She suggested that journalists look for the emotional, personal stories that are there to be told. Some stories are buried in obituaries and death notices: Did someone die after a long illness? At home?