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Home > Publications > Quill > SDX Awards: Feature Writing: less than 100,000


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Tuesday, July 3, 2007
SDX Awards: Feature Writing: less than 100,000

Winners: Lois M. Collins and Elaine Jarvik, Deseret Morning News

by Jim Poyser

Lisa Speckman went to the hospital to have a baby. After an otherwise uneventful birth, she developed a strep infection that declared war upon her, ultimately taking from Lisa both legs, one arm, multiple organs and much of the future she thought she would have with her husband and two daughters.

“‘Still Lisa’ is an up-close-and-personal examination of one family’s battle that, at the same time, tackles broader implications,” Editor Joseph A. Cannon said. Complimenting the story was the fact that Lisa’s husband, Steve, works for the Deseret Morning News as a staff writer.

Lisa’s future was being measured in minutes: If she made it through this minute, she had a chance of surviving the next one. If she made it one hour she might make it two — but with every organ in her body struggling, no one believed she’d survive the night. Even the whites of her eyes were swollen.

The story for reporter Elaine Jarvik “is the story of how much, literally, a woman can lose of herself without losing herself.”

Medical reporter Lois Collins added, “We had to set aside personal-relationship concerns and just do it.”

Judges said, “The authors put together a well-written narrative, complete with a flowing timeline, descriptive language, great quotes and personalities who complement the subject.”

After all, her loss, like all losses, was relative. If the surgeon had cut a little higher on her right arm, she might not be able to use a prosthetic one. If she had lost a few more inches of her legs, she might not be able to sit up. She could have lost her tongue.

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