Dear Rabbi, I am a medical student in Texas (non-Jewish), and I am currently writing an article on medical ethics. Specifically, my paper deals with a scenario in which a patient who is an orthodox Jew is accidently given an insulin injection which contains both beef and pork products even though his order states that he receive only beef insulin. While I have found several articles on the internet explaining what foods are kosher and why, I am unable to determine exactly what it would mean to this patient to have been violated in such a way. I would like to know what the severity of such an incident would mean to a Jewish person. Would this incident greatly and negatviely change the person’s life? Is this a type of sin or infraction that can be attoned for or forgiven, and through what means? Would revealing the mistake cause suffering on the part of the patient and his family or his religious community? Does it matter that the violation was made by mistake and not by the patient himself? Although I have concluded that the patient has an absolute right to know what has been done to his body, it would help me to know what the consequences would mean to him. If possible, could you also mention if there would be any consequences for the patient’s spirit if the mistake was not revealed in an effort to spare him the negative impact it might have. A timely response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time, and for this website.
It is forbidden for a Jew to EAT non-kosher meat. There is no prohibition of any kind in receiving an injegtion with elements derived from non-kosher animals.