Bay Area native and part-time doctor at UCSF, Dr. Taylor Nichols, spoke with ABC News about his recent encounter with a COVID-19 patient, adorned with swastika and Nazi tattoos on his chest.
Dr. Nichols, who is Jewish, explains how he and his team, a Black nurse and an Asian respiratory therapist at a Sacramento-area hospital, worked to treat the man just like they would any other coronavirus patient.
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"Being Jewish, seeing that symbol of hate, knowing that that same compassion may not otherwise have been extended if the roles were reversed really made me double down and look into myself and extend that compassion towards him," said Dr. Nichols, who wrote on Twitter, "We all knew what he thought of us. How he valued our lives. Yet here we were, working seamlessly as a team to make sure we gave him the best chance to survive that we could."
I run through the meds and plan with the nurse and RT. I pause. I see the SS tattoo and think about what he might think about having Jewish physician taking care of him now, or how much he would have cared about my life if the roles were reversed. 16/— Taylor Nichols, MD (@tnicholsmd) November 30, 2020
Dr. Nichols described the incident in 17 tweets on Twitter that have garnered thousands of views.
One of them said, "The swastika stood out boldly on his chest. SS tattoos and other insignia that had previously been covered by his shirt were now obvious to the room."
Dr. Nichols says as they were working to save the man he said, "Don't let me die, doc."
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He says he's encountered patients like this before, "the swastikas, the racists," and always feels "a bit shaken."
Nichols affirms it doesn't change his mindset, saying "I went into this job wanting to save lives."
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