Jewish Surgeon Refuses to treat patient with Swastika tattoo


Here’s something for you to sit on the fence about, if others’ opinions are anything to go by. A news story broke out this weekend about a Jewish surgeon who walked out on a patient in Germany because he had a Nazi Swastika tattoo. From Israel National News:

“I will not operate on your husband,” he told the patient’s wife. “I am Jewish.” The patient, a 36-year-old man, bore a tattoo of the Reichsadler, the Imperial Eagle, perched on a swastika.

The surgeon then let another colleague perform the surgery, which (from the lack of any mention otherwise) I assume went without a hitch.

Before I go into this, I’d just like to point out that there is a difference between a Swastika symbol and a Nazi Swastika symbol. The Swastika has been around for thousands of years, and means an array of different things to people, the main one being that of peace. However, a Swastika symbol surrounded by such imagery as the Reichsadler eagle or sometimes a simple circle can be a hateful symbol of the Nazi.

It seems that a lot of people are undecided about this story. Did the surgeon do the right thing? Many are saying that he did, and is a man of principle- others wonder how seriously he takes his duty of care. This isn’t too unlike another story from a while ago where a doctor refused to treat someone for the fact he had tattoos- however, this takes into account the subject and meaning of the patient’s tattoos, which of course can be offensive to many people.

From a personal point of view, it seems the surgeon did the right thing- had he been distracted because of the tattoo, it could have seriously impaired his work. However, had the surgery had immediate importance (a real ‘matter of life and death’ situation), I’d have probably said otherwise. I’m really interested in what you guys have to say though, so please get in touch, via the comments section here or our Facebook page!

3 Responses to “Jewish Surgeon Refuses to treat patient with Swastika tattoo”
  1. Conor Newman says:

    I think he was right, the Reichsadler Swastika is a hugely emotive symbol to many peo-le, especially those of Jewish decent. The Distraction would have no doubt affect the surgeons ability to do his job at his peak performance, it was a case of conflict of interest.

    If the patient had been dieing there and then and needing emergency treatment or no other surgeon was available then the hypocratic oath would of course have to be adhered to and despite his personal feelings, he would be obliged to operate.

    • Mel Noir says:

      I agree Conor, mate! One or two other articles about this really have people undecided. I mean, I know it’s his job to treat people, but he has to do that to the best of his abilities, there’s no Ctrl + Z.
      Thanks for the comment, groovy dude! :)

  2. vlad says:

    this physician on his forehead to tattoo “I’m not a doctor, but EXECUTIONER

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