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Jewish Nurses Take Care of Synagogue Shooter

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After the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue, nurses, some of the Jewish, took care of the perpetrator. This article discusses our Code of Ethics and our professional care of all people.

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Jewish Nurses Take Care of Synagogue Shooter

A Horrific Event

On Saturday, October 27, a 46-year-old white man, Robert Bowers, opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing 11 and wounding 6 others. When he was taken to the local hospital, some of the nurses who took care of the shooter were Jewish. In the aftermath of the shooting and the mourning that follows, we have reason to be proud of our fellow nurses and their utmost professionalism in this incident.

While shooting, Bowers shouted that he wanted to kill all Jews. During the shoot-out with police officers that ensued, Bowers was wounded and taken to the local hospital, Allegheny General. There, nurses and doctors, some of them Jewish, provided medical care to the perpetrator.

The Shooter Becomes a Patient

"He was taken to my hospital and he's shouting, 'I want to kill all the Jews'," Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, president of Allegheny General Hospital and a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue, told ABC. "The first three people who took care of him were Jewish. Another nurse, whose father is a rabbi, came in from a mass casualty drill and took care of this gentleman." (Pittsburgh synagogue shooter tended to by Jewish doctors and nurses, officials say | Fox News)

Dr. Cohen went on to say,

Quote
"A Jewish nurse and Jewish doctor cared for Bowers at Allegheny General Hospital. We have a very simple mission at [Allegheny General Hospital] and I imagine it's exactly the same at the other hospitals in the area: we're here to take care of sick people. We're not here to judge you. We're not here to ask do you have insurance or do you not have insurance. We're here to take care of people that need our help."

(Why Jewish hospital president checked on injured synagogue shooting suspect - ABC News)

Code of Ethics

As nurses, we don't spend a great deal of time memorizing or going over the Code of Ethics that guides our profession, but all of us find our daily practices affected by the principles it sets out. The Code invites us to be better, to look higher, to expect excellence from ourselves and from our peers. The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses outlines the responsibilities nurses have to go above and beyond in providing competent and compassionate care. Provisions 1-3 of the Code, especially apply in this case and include the following statements:

1. The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person.

2. The nurse's primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.

3. The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.

(http://nursing.rutgers.edu/civility/ANA-Code-of-Ethics-for-Nurses.pdf) The Code goes on to list 6 more provisions that further define the nursing profession.

Nurses Rise to a Higher Plane

Regardless of our personal feelings, views, traditions, we are called upon to rise to a higher plane when it concerns excellence in patient care. As we put aside our horror at the atrocities committed in mass shootings, we live into our professional calling as nurses, caring for the deserving and the undeserving without distinction.

In this day of deep divisions, we hear media outlets endlessly pontificating on their opinions about how some people are more deserving of care than others. We hear discourse that seems to imply that the "good" people deserve better care than the "bad" people. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan reminds us, "'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." The fact is that our Code as nursing professionals does that allow us to make judgements about who is good and who is not good. We simply provide good care to call, doing out best each time, allowing the judgements to go to our Higher Powers and others who end up in the position of making such decisions.

When we witness an incident of terrorism such as the one that took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday, we are, once again, reminded of our ethical duties as nurses-called to care for our patients to the best of our abilities every time regardless of their criminal record, immigration status, drug usage habits, insurance, fame, power, position.

When we practice nursing while living out the Code of Ethics, we become more than just one nurse; we join the body of nurses worldwide who care for others in their time of need. We learn to give of ourselves sacrificially, putting the needs of the patient first, advocating for them if needed, regardless of whether or not they merit our care. By doing this, we remove ourselves from the base position of judging others, and we become instead, givers: grace-filled, seekers of wisdom, people who long for the greater good of all and do all that we can to help implement that in the world around us through our diligent and honorable practice.

Thank You for Compassion

Our thanks to the Jewish nurses in Pittsburgh who set an example for all of us. You remind us again of our higher calling and invite us to serve everyone with an attitude of compassion and in so doing, we become more than individual practitioners but a profession we can be proud of.

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Joy has been a nurse for 35 years, practicing in a variety of settings. Currently, she is a Faith Community Nurse.

14 Likes, 4 Followers, 81 Articles, 144,544 Visitors, and 358 Posts.

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I read that and then I went on the hospital's website and made a donation in honor of the staff (many of whom left shopping carts in stores and abandoned family plans so that they could care for others in this trauma.) Thank you for sharing.

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I read that and then I went on the hospital's website and made a donation in honor of the staff (many of whom left shopping carts in stores and abandoned family plans so that they could care for others in this trauma.) Thank you for sharing.

What a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do!!

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I read that and then I went on the hospital's website and made a donation in honor of the staff (many of whom left shopping carts in stores and abandoned family plans so that they could care for others in this trauma.) Thank you for sharing.

Wow! What a positive response and a great idea. Thank you! Joy

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I work at one of the other EDs in Pittsburgh, and we received 5 patients injured in the shooting that morning (I wasn't there; I was working night shift). When I heard that AGH had taken care of the shooter, I knew they had probably the toughest job of all. I hope they're receiving at least the same level of support from the community and elsewhere that we have. We've had food delivered to our ED signed, "Love, Squirrel Hill" and from nursing units in a few hospitals around the country. A Pre-K class in the area made and sent cards with adorable crayon pictures and "thank you for helping" messages (which were promptly hung in the hall). The kindness has been overwhelming, and now I want to send AGH something because I wonder if they may not have had the support we had based on who was sent to them.

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I work at one of the other EDs in Pittsburgh, and we received 5 patients injured in the shooting that morning (I wasn't there; I was working night shift). When I heard that AGH had taken care of the shooter, I knew they had probably the toughest job of all. I hope they're receiving at least the same level of support from the community and elsewhere that we have. We've had food delivered to our ED signed, "Love, Squirrel Hill" and from nursing units in a few hospitals around the country. A Pre-K class in the area made and sent cards with adorable crayon pictures and "thank you for helping" messages (which were promptly hung in the hall). The kindness has been overwhelming, and now I want to send AGH something because I wonder if they may not have had the support we had based on who was sent to them.

Thank you for sharing. It is always uplifting to hear of the goodness of people in response to such an evil event. One of the earlier responses to this article was from someone who chose to make a donation to the employee fund at AGH--a very positive response, for sure. Joy

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I read that and then I went on the hospital's website and made a donation in honor of the staff (many of whom left shopping carts in stores and abandoned family plans so that they could care for others in this trauma.) Thank you for sharing.

Proud to call you my internet forum friend. What a wonderful idea!

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