Death Takes a Holiday

In: English and Literature

Submitted By colwell998
Words 945
Pages 4
Brenda Colwell
ENG 363 Literature & Medicine
Winter 2013

Death Takes a Holiday As spoken by Major Margaret Houlihan, RN, “It never fails to astonish me, one minute you are alive, the next minute you are dead.” Welcome to M*A*S*H 4077, Korea; the episode “Death Takes a Holiday” directed by Mike Farrell and was originally aired on December 12th, 1980 (Farrell). In this episode we see the staff struggle with the issue of death. This episode depicts the staff struggling with the issue of death. It is Christmas day and a soldier who was shot by a sniper is brought in to the camp by a Military Police. Colonel Potter, who was dressed as Santa Claus, summons his staff to take the solider for evaluation and treatment. Upon evaluation, it is determined he is a terminal patient suffering from a brain stem injury that he acquired from sniper fire. Today, if he had been in the right place when he was shot he might have stood a chance of survival but with paralysis. Back in those days he was considered terminal and the only choice was to make him comfortable until his death. While medicine in the 1950’s was not as sophisticated as it is today, some of the technology we are using today was just being developed and it was very limited in the United States, let alone in a war occurring in a foreign country. During other episodes of M*A*S*H we saw the physicians struggling with making their own versions of medical equipment that was being developed stateside. One example of how the doctor’s improvised with medical equipment was they had a local jeweler custom make a clamp for vascular surgery. This clamp improved patient outcomes and saved many lives. As the episode continues to unfold, it is brought to our attention that a truce has been called between Allied troops and Korea for Christmas. The following scene next shows a nurse going through the…...

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