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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ethical triaging

What requires our most urgent response?

A pastor challenged me to think about how the ELCA might engage in "ethical triaging." The phrase is both intriguing and bewildering. He described an experience many of us have faced personally or with a family member. Arriving at an emergency room, we check in with a triage nurse and describe the symptoms or accident for which we need attention. Following registration, we usually are asked to take a seat and wait.

We are not called to see the physician in the order we arrived. This can be comforting or frustrating. We become impatient as well as curious, wondering, "What makes another's needs more urgent?" Sometimes their pain or bleeding makes it obvious. More often it is not clear. Yet as we reflect, we realize the staff is making thoughtful decisions and we, too, will receive care.


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August issue

AUGUST issue:

Advice for evangelism

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