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Mortality and medicine: forms of silence and of speech
  1. M Rowe
  1. Correspondence to:
 Michael Rowe
 Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, 205 Whitney Avenue, Suite 306, New Haven, CT 06511, USA;


Silence can be harmful to patients, their loved ones, and doctors within the contexts of illness and bereavement. I draw from my experience with my son’s illness and death to discuss five forms of silence—the silence around the experience of critical illness; the silence between life and death; the silence of doctors; the silence of the dead, and the silence of the ill—and of speech that may emerge in response to these silences.

  • Death
  • dying
  • bereavement
  • silence and death

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