Defined by suffering

If you have watched reruns of the TV series "M*A*S*H," you might remember the scenes where the medical staff performs triage each time a helicopter arrives with more wounded from the Korean War. After they do a quick visual evaluation, the staff assesses each patient's physical condition and assigns their treatment to the medical professional best suited to help them.

Other medical programs like "ER" and "House, M.D." use a similar process when patients present themselves in the emergency room. Doctors can be heard saying, "Broken leg in Room 3" or "Third-degree burns, Curtain 2" or "Head trauma in intensive care."

In this process of evaluation, television reflects the real-life activity of hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers and even the battlefield. Those in need of care are identified by their wounds or sicknesses. Only when their suffering is addressed and attended can someone see beyond their struggle to discover who they really are.

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