Eleven years ago, when she was 24, Katherine Standefer was working as a ski instructor and a climbing teacher in Jackson, Wyo., when she suddenly passed out in a parking lot. She later learned that she has long QT syndrome, a genetic heart condition in which the heart can suddenly quiver instead of rhythmically pumping blood. Standefer chronicles the ways her condition and the implanted defibrillator changed her life in the book Lightning Flowers. Looking back, she feels particularly grateful for her present health.
Journalist and former physician Elisabeth Rosenthal on how American healthcare became big business, dysfunctional, and difficult for patients to navigate. Rosenthal is the author of the new book An American Sickness.
T. Christian Miller doesn't shy away from trouble. He has reported on conflicts in Kosovo, Israel and Iraq, among others, and the Web site he founded, ProPublica, is dedicated to covering stories with "moral force" — providing in-depth coverage of environmental, defense, and human rights issues. One story Miller has been following closely, in a series of articles titled "Disposable Army," is the fate of employees who worked for private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.