NMA Responds to the Tragic Death of a Healer and True First Responder, Dr. Tamara O’Neal
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
For Dr. Tamara O’Neal, helping people was both a profession and a way of life. On Monday, November 19, 2018, Dr. O’Neal’s life was brutally taken in the parking lot of her place of employment, along with Pharmacy Resident, Dayna Less and first responder, rookie Officer Samuel Jiminez.
The 38-year old Dr. O’Neal was a graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in Chicago (2014), completed her emergency medicine residency in 2017 and at the time of this unforeseen tragedy, was an ER attending at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital and Medical Center. She was an SNMA chapter officer as a medical student and was a National Medical Fellowships Residency Scholarship recipient. At the 2016 NMA Convention in Los Angeles, she presented research at the Emergency Medicine session, as a resident, and received a research award for her work. She raised money for disadvantaged children and led her church choir.
O’Neal’s tragic killing is yet another case of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The incident should be a dire reminder that, according to a 2017 report, The Status of Black Women in the United States, from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, black women are more likely to experience IPV than white, Latina and Asian/Pacific Islander women. More than 40% of black women experience IPV during their lifetimes compared to 31.5% of all women, the report further states.
Chicago native and nearly 30-year member of the Medical Staff at Mercy Hospital, NMA President, Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson said, “I did not know her personally, but I wish I had. We had many similarities and were both devout Christians who loved God and God’s people. She was truly on the cusp of an awesome medical career.”
“This tears at the soul of our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at a press conference Monday night. “It is the face and the consequence of evil...the City lost a doctor, a pharmacy resident and a police officer.”
NMA continues our quest to stem gun violence. We published our position on this in a 2017 article in our journal, The Violence Epidemic in the African American Community: A Call by the NMA for Comprehensive Reform.
The NMA family of physicians joins the City of Chicago in mourning this tragic loss of life and enfolds the grieving families in their prayers.