(image courtesy of Eric Catalano, via Kaiser Health News)

The client, a man who had lost part of two fingers in a construction accident, wandered into Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio and asked for a fingernail design at the tips of his fingers. It was his way of making light of a bad situation.

The idea amused everyone in the studio. But once Eric Catalano, the owner, had finished the tattoo and put away his needles, “the mood changed in here,” he recalled recently. “Everything turned from funny to wow.”