'Maybe I'm not OK': Jewish physician reflects on treating COVID-19 patient with Nazi tattoos

As an emergency room physician at Carmichael, Calif.-based Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Taylor Nichols, MD, has faced many hard shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus was not to blame for a recent patient encounter that Dr. Nichols said was among the most challenging of his career, reports CBS affiliate KPIX.

In mid-November, Dr. Nichols treated an older man who arrived by ambulance struggling to breath. He and his colleagues noticed the man had several Nazi tattoos while they were switching him into a hospital gown, Dr. Nichols wrote in a Nov. 30 Twitter thread.

Dr. Nichols, who is Jewish, said he's encountered offensive tattoos or racist patients before. While every encounter leaves him a bit shaken, he is usually able to maintain his empathy and perform his duties using a mantra to remind himself that he's a physician who's responsible for saving lives no matter who the person is, Dr. Nichols said. 

"For the first time, I recognize that I hesitated, ambivalent," Dr. Nichols wrote of the most recent patient encounter. "The pandemic has worn on me, and my mantra isn't having the same impact in the moment. All this time soldiering on against the headwinds, gladiators in the pit. And I realize that maybe I'm not OK."

Dr. Nichol's story has since gone viral on Twitter, with more than 34,000 users sharing his post. 


Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars