Mirth: extracting values from the msg (ex4) object w/o thowing errors when the object is not populated.

sidwelle used Ask the Experts™
Looking to write a function to query an ex4 object for a value. My problem is that when I try to extract the value and the field has not been populated, JavaScript throws an error.
I can write a try/catch statement to trap the errors, but when I try to extract many values the code starts to look clumsy.

Is there some way to pass the ex4 object to a function w/o the function throwing an error when passing a ex4.location that has not been populated ?

var msh7 = msg['MSH']['MSH.7']['MSH.7.1'].toString();    // <- this throws an error if MSH|07 has not been populated. (they didn't send a date)

Why can't I do something like this ?:
var msh7 = getValue(msg['MSH']['MSH.7']['MSH.7.1']);    //  <- but this also throws an error if the location is not populated !?

function getValue(obj){
      return obj.toString();
   }catch(e){ return '';}   // just return an empty str.
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