FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – This week’s Healthcare Hero has made his mark–an actual mark with his patients–getting a tattoo to help with any fears patients may have going through radiation therapy.
When a patient comes in, needing radiation therapy, they go through a simulator machine which is basically a CT scan. After the scan, a tattoo the size of a freckle is given in order to establish accurate treatment on the area of the body receiving radiation therapy.
Gerry Rodriguez, the Supervisor of Radiation Therapy at Community Cancer Institute said, “Through my years doing CT simulation, I noticed that patients were very anxious when we mention the word tattoo. So once we tattoo them, I had to assure them it’s a small tattoo, it looks just like a freckle. But, there was still some anxiety there. A few years after I started doing it, I realized, hey maybe if I got one myself and I could show them, it would kind of ease their anxiety.”
And so Gerry decided to lead by example.
Alec Beach the Manager of Radiation Oncology at Community Cancer Institute said, “He didn’t tell me he had done this but he got a tattoo on his hand around here, to show to the patients basically what a tattoo that we use in radiation therapy for alignment purposes to show them what it looks like and hopefully to allay any fears that may come from that even word tattoo. I couldn’t think of a more deserving employee as somebody as dedicated as Gerry Rodriguez is. He will go out of his way to accommodate patients, to take care of his team, work with the physicians to make sure their needs are met as well, and all the staff in general.”
Gerry has been a therapist for about 15 years and says his career is so rewarding, he never imagined becoming a Healthcare Hero.
“Well, it was a true honor. I didn’t really expect it. I didn’t know that I’m worthy of it, but thank you, it’s a great honor.”