A Jewish doctor who treated a patient with a Nazi tattoo says the epidemic tested his compassion


The patient’s skin was covered with Nazi tattoos, including a large swastika on his chest. Arriving in an ambulance, he was critically ill, and the patient asked Nichols not to let him die.

Nichols and his team, which included a black nurse and an Asian respiratory therapist, were prepared for his intubation, which poses a high risk during the Covid-19 epidemic because it could expose healthcare workers to infectious drops. And when he wondered if the Nazi-tattooed man cared about his life if the roles turned around, he hesitated.
“The epidemic is worn on me and my mantra doesn’t affect the same effect at the moment” – Nichols tweeted earlier this week. “All this time the headwind, the gladiators are militarying in the pit. And I realize maybe I’m not okay.”

The compassion and commitment to his patients that Nichols has to do with his work subsided in the pandemic, CNN told John Berman in a Friday “New Day.”

Although he said he was grateful to have received the wake-up call, he is concerned about the mental health of his front-line staff, who may not have faced the stress caused by the epidemic.

“I was shocked at how it had affected me that I had never encountered such hesitation in my career,” he told CNN.

Work in one of the most severely affected states

When previous ethical dilemmas about patients arose, Nichols said he maintained his judgment and focused on treating the patient to the best of his knowledge.

“I really didn’t have a chance to talk to them with this patient,” he said. “All that was left of me was the symbol that this symbol exercised on me. It was a symbol of hatred. It challenged me a little.”

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He said he responded with ambivalence in part due to the stress of the pandemic, which put a huge strain on healthcare workers and institutions. The lack of personal protective equipment and low ICU capacity have made it even more difficult for physicians like Nichols to keep patients and themselves safe.

Nichols works in California, which leads the country with nearly 1.29 million in Covid-19 cases. Part of what makes your job extremely difficult is the fact that the vaccines are almost ready for the first round of distribution. Every death and every disease among the widespread distribution of vaccines is “much more heartbreaking,” he said.

Although the interaction with the patient shook him, Nichols said he was committed to providing the best care for all patients who need it. The well of compassion did not dry up. But he hopes other health workers will look into the extreme stress they have suffered since the March pandemic like him.