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Medical Treatment for a Goy on Shabbat


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

Shevat 23, 5769
Dear Rabbi , I have been studying Rambam’s Hilchos Melachim, and I am not sure how certain portions of it are applied in today’s world. I was wondering if you could possibly shed some light on this: If a goy requires medical treatment on Shabbos, does the Halacha hold that: a) A Jewish doctor is obliged to treat him, b) A Jewish doctor is forbidden to treating him, or c) A Jewish doctor is permitted to treat him, but may refrain from doing so if he so chooses. I understand there may be other factors involved that may complicate a ruling. Obviously I’m not asking for a specific psak, I just want to understand the general rule here. Please help me; I need to have an answer by Wednesday night if at all possible. Thanks a lot,
I apologize for the delayed answer. All contemporary Poskim have ruled that Doctors can break Shabbat even for Torah prohibitions to save non-Jewish life as well. [See Nishmat Avraham OC 330; 2] The reason is since if we won't treat them, they will not treat us of even worse; if one wishes to avoid the situation all together that is okay ["I don't work Shabbat shifts at all"], however if the patient is there and then – you must treat.
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