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February 13, 2009

Through The Fire

The U.S. health care system is frequently criticized for focusing on technology at the expense of empathy. But in Indianapolis, one patient’s determination to recover and a therapist’s willingness to reach out brought about a miraculous outcome. Manoj Rana came to the U.S. from India in 2004 to study computer engineering. But one month from graduation, Manoj was caught in a devastating apartment fire that burned 90 percent of his body.

Manoj awoke in a Chicago hospital, immobile and completely dependent on others. At first he despaired and thought of suicide. But when he met Shannon Hendricks, an occupational therapist, both Manoj’s and Shannon’s lives changed. Manoj went from being barely able to stand to running a mini-marathon more than two years later. Manoj and Shannon talk with Dick Gordon about the ups and downs in Manoj’s journey toward independence – and how their friendship inspires them both.

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