Our Nurse of the Week is Ari Mahler, a trauma nurse in Pittsburgh and a member of the Tree of Life synagogue’s Jewish congregation, who treated suspected synagogue shooter Robert Bowers after he was brought in to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds from police. The tragic October 27th shooting that killed more than 11 people left Mahler in fear that his own parents may have been victims of the shooting, especially his father who is a rabbi, but he felt compelled to do his job as a nurse and show compassion to his patient regardless of his actions.
Mahler’s story emerged after Allegheny General Hospital President Jeffrey Cohen, who is also Jewish and a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue, told news outlets that a Jewish nurse and Jewish doctor treated the suspected shooter. After seeing local news stations talking about the care he provided that day, Mahler decided to respond with a Facebook post that has since been shared more than 171,000 times.
Bowers had no idea that his nurse was Jewish and Mahler did not disclose that fact while providing treatment. Mahler’s viral Facebook post, which begins with the words “I am The Jewish Nurse,” go on to explain:
“I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?”
Mahler ultimately provided lifesaving care to his patient as an act of love and humanity, reaffirming that love in the face of evil can provide hope and a path forward. To read Mahler’s full account of treating suspected synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, visit here.
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