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Working Together During Niddah

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Rabbi Gideon Weitzman

21 Tammuz 5763
Question
I am a surgical resident. My wife just began working as an operating room nurse in the same hospital that I work. Although it has not happened yet, it is possible that I will be operating in the same room where my wife will be working. Is there any halachic problem if she is Nidda and must hand instruments to me in order for me to operate?
Answer
Shalom U'vracha, The Poskim disagree as to whether a doctor can treat his wife who is ill. The Rambam does not allow it under any circumstances, but all the rest of the Poskim allow him to treat her for two reasons. One, it is a question of Pikuach Nefesh. Two, in the same way that a doctor can treat any woman due to his being involved in his medical work and therefore, such touching does not have any sexual overtones and is permitted. All the above is in the case where the doctor has to actual touch and treat his wife, it therefore seems clear that in a case where the only action is passing from one to the other it should definitely be allowed. Also in the OR there are always other people around and everyone wears gloves both making the prohibition less severe. Therefore if you have to work with your wife on a medical procedure and there are others around she may hand you instruments. Kol Tuv
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