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article imageBombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's nurses feared public reaction

By Yukio Strachan     May 21, 2013 in Crime
Boston - When Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev came through the doors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the trauma nurses felt ambivalent but duty-bound to care for him.
The Boston Globe interviewed seven of the nine nurses asked by supervisors to care for Tsarnaev.
The nurses who cared for the bombing suspect operated by this principle: The ethical bedrock of their profession requires them to treat patients regardless of their personal history, The Globe writes.
Nurse Julie Benbenishty, director of trauma at the Israeli hospital, said terrorists are not separated from other patients there, even if they are victims.
As USA Today notes, though details of Tsarnaev's specific treatment are shielded by privacy laws, during their 12-hour shifts the nurses would have given him typical ICU care: checking wounds, asking about pain, monitoring vitals -- all with FBI agents stationed in the room.
“After about a half-hour, I don’t see him as a terrorist anymore,’’ Benbenishty told the Globe.
But Boston had not forgotten that he was the 19-year-old terrorist suspected of planting bombs that killed three people and injured 265. The public's reaction to the Worcester funeral home that cared for the body of Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, added an extra burden to caring for the suspect. Some nurses told the Globe that they became afraid of the reaction from some members of the public towards themselves.
“If any of these people knew what I did [that] weekend, would they hate me, or would they thank me?’’ one nurse asked herself. A few are surprised they feel guilty for doing a good job, said the Globe.
Those nurses show ultimately that they are healers, not judges of patients, a hematologist-oncologist wrote last month on KevinMD.
"Yet, regardless of whether the patient is a kindly old woman, a hopeful young child, or an extremist killer, physicians understand this: when we allow the moral status of our patients to dictate the extent and quality of care that we provide to them, the integrity of being a physician is compromised," Ron Cheung wrote in the KevinMD blog post.
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