Going to and Staying in the Hospital on Shabbat

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Halachic Checklist of What to Pack and Prepare

Transportation to Hospital

Arrival at Hospital

  1. Walking through electric doors is an issue. If there's no other door, one can walk immediately behind a non-Jew who is walking there anyway and is opening it for themselves.[1]
  2. If that's not an option and there is a Jew who isn't religious or someone who doesn't realize and walks through the doors, one can follow him closely and walk through once he already opened them.[2]
  3. See Giving_Birth_on_Shabbat#Arrival_at_hospital

Elevators and Stairs

  1. Using a Shabbos elevator is a discussion.
  2. Using a stairwell in a hospital might involve triggering automatic lights. If so, one should not take the stairs. See here.

Hadlakat Neirot in the Hospital

  1. One could light with electric candles. See Hadlakat Neirot page.

Food Heated up on Shabbat

  1. A non-Jew may heat up food for a sick person on Shabbat. However, a healthy person can not partake of that food. See the Amirah Lnochri page for more details.
  2. Someone who isn't in mortal danger can't eat the food that a non-religious Jew intentionally cooked for him on Shabbat.[3]
  3. In many hospitals there is a hospitality room. For example, in the NY area there are hospitality rooms that Chesed 24/7 stocks with kosher food.

Kiddush in the Hospital

  1. If a person doesn't have a metal or special kiddush cup, one could use a disposable cup for Kiddush. See Kiddush page.
  2. If a person doesn't have grape juice or wine at all, he could recite kiddush over the challah for Friday night.

Havdalah in the Hospital

  1. A person can not recite Havdalah over an electric light. See Havdalah page.
  2. If a person can't get a flame for Havdalah, one should nonetheless recite Havdalah without that bracha.

Calling a Nurse

  1. If a person is in the hospital on Shabbat he shouldn't press the electric buttons to ring the nurses to have someone come help them. Obviously if there's pikuach nefesh it is permitted. Otherwise a person should try to call, knock, use a mechanical bell, or ask a non-Jew to press the button for you. If that isn't an option he can use the electric button if it isn't going to turn on a light. Even then it is best to use a shinuy.[4]

Signing Papers in the Hospital

  1. If there is a pikuach nefesh reason, such as if the patient needs a serious surgery immediately and they won't proceed unless he signs, then it is permitted to sign. Otherwise it is better to orally declare that one accepts whatever agreement he is presented and have them sign it for him or ask them to let them sign after Shabbat.[5]

Leaving the Hospital on Shabbat

  1. Is wearing the hospital band considered carrying? Listen to R' Shraga Kallus
  2. Is it permissible to carry within the hospital or do they need an eruv chatzerot? Listen to R' Zev Smith

Sources

  1. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 40:19
  2. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 40:19
  3. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 40:20
  4. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 40:23-4
  5. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 40:25