the patient refuses to have Shabbos violated on his behalf must he be
coerced to violate the Shabbos - or is it his choice?
Since the halacha
is that Shabbos must be violated in the event of pikuach nefesh,
an individual does not have the right to say that he does not want the
Shabbos violated on his account, or that he refuses to violate the
Shabbos in order to save his own life. It can be compared to the
prohibition of taking of one’s own life.
The Mishna Berura
that when the patient’s cooperation is required and he does not want the
Shabbos to be violated on his behalf, one must subtly explain that that
sort of frumkeit is out of place, and if he does not relent he
must be forced to cooperate.
We are not “owners” of
our bodies and we must do all we can to look after ourselves.
if he refuses to eat on Yom Kippur?
The same applies to
eating or drinking on Yom Kippur. When one has to eat or drink on Yom
Kippur because of pikuach nefesh, and the cases, unfortunately,
are many, it is not merely a suggestion that one may eat if one
feels like it, rather it is a necessity to break the fast and eat. It is
a mitzvah. Abstention from food in such a case would be an aveira, not a
mitzvah. Just as Hashem yisborach commanded us to abstain from
all food and drink on Yom Kippur, He ordered the dangerously ill to eat
on Yom Kippur.
should a phone be used for pikuach nefesh on Shabbos?
We have mentioned in
the past that there are poskim who are of the opinion that when
dealing with pikuach nefesh one must violate the Shabbos in a
manner of ä÷ì ä÷ì úçéìä,
which means that if it will suffice to violate the Shabbos with an issur
d’rabanan one must do so and only when that cannot be a viable solution
may one violate the Shabbos with an issur d’oraisso. We stress
though, that this is on condition that it will have no adverse effects
on the patient’s well being.
Lifting the receiver
can set off two melachos – connecting the circuit, which
according to the Chazon Ish involves Boneh – construction,
and when certain lights are present - Hav’arah – creating a
In order to minimize
one should lift the receiver b’shinui (a halachikally defined
irregular manner), i.e. between one’s palms or knock it off with one’s
elbow. The explanation being that any melacha done b’shinui
automatically transforms it into a d’rabanan.
Pressing the buttons
can also be modified by pressing them with a spoon or any other
instrument, thus downgrading the severity of the issur.
One should replace the
receiver in order that the doctor/ambulance service/medic are able to
return a call if necessary, such as to get more details about the
patient or to ask for more directions. Some systems work in such a way
that if one does not hang up it will keep the line occupied for a while,
which might prevent other callers from calling the doctor or ambulance
Nevertheless it should
be replaced b’shinui, if possible, in order to minimize the
Once again we will
stress that if time is crucial, such as in a case of a suspect heart
attack, asthma attack, stroke etc. one should lift the receiver and dial
in the regular manner in order to summon help as quickly as possible.
Only when one has sufficient time on one’s hands to coordinate one’s
moves should one act on the basis of ä÷ì ä÷ì
úçéìä, such as a case when a woman is in labor, but not an
one accompany a patient in a car or ambulance on Shabbos?
The need for
accompaniment is in some cases necessary to help the patient, which will
obviously permit one to ride in the car with the patient. In other cases
it is to offer emotional support,
even by just being there with the patient, which will also be the reason
to permit accompanying a patient.
Chazal tell us
that if a person in danger becomes frightened it can have serious
adverse effects on that person’s health and one may even do melachos
to appease the patient and allay his fears. If the hospital is not in
the same town (outside the t’chum) there are problems that we
will discuss be”H in future shiurim.
you have any examples?
Chazal tell us
that one may turn on the lights in the room of a woman about to give
birth, even though she is blind (Hashem yishmor), although the
midwife may be able to manage without lights. The reason is because, in
the natural way of things, the woman in labor believes that if the
midwife needs something, she must have light in order to find its
whereabouts, and without lights they will be endangering her. (The
Magen Avraham asks that since she is blind, they should tell her
that they turned on the lights without having done so and thus appease
her mind. The Elya Raba answers that she will feel them groping
around and realize that the lights were not turned on).