Religion Magazine

Triage for Shabbos-observance in the Hospital

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
According to Haaretz, Rav Moshe Klein, the rav of Hadassah Hospital, has requested the staff of the Hadassah Hospital emergency room deal first with cases, on Fridays, of religious people, and only after that with the cases of non-religious people.
The idea would be to enable the religious people to get out of the hospital quicker and to be able to go home for Shabbos, when possible, rather than delays in treatment causing them to be stuck in the hospital for Shabbos.
triage for shabbos-observance in the hospital
According to Rav Klein, this is already the protocol in place and meant to be used in the emergency room, as per the directives of the director of the hospital. The Director, Professor Zev Rosenstein denies the existence of such a protocol..
According to Haaretz, sources at the hospital say that the rav recently made this request requested and said that Shabbos observance should be the main factor in triage, even higher than medical urgency of the cases present and higher than the consideration of who came in for treatment earlier or later and how long people have been waiting.
An emergency room's main priority should always be urgency of cases. Hadassah has a triage room right at the entrance to the emergency room and patients go through there first so the urgency can be evaluated. I have a hard time believing that Rav Klein requested anything be given higher priority than medical urgency - perhaps he made this request regarding cases that have equal levels of medical urgency, and then Shabbos-observance should be taken into account as well. I would have no problem with that - everyone wants to get out of the hospital faster. Nobody wants to be stuck for a few extra hours or a day. It also affects the mental state of the patient, as he is concerned about being unnecessarily stuck for too long (in cases where he or she will be treated and released). Taking Shabbos-observance into account, when medical urgency is equal, seems reasonable to me.
Regardless, it seems to be of only minor importance. Once word gets out that this is a factor, all sorts of people will say they need to be home before Shabbat, and I am not sure how a nurse or doctor will be able to decide who is really shomer shabbat and who is not, nor should it really be their job to try to make such evaluations. It would be a shame if they only go by stereotypical dress (someone obviously religious compared to someone else less obviously religious) and as a result some shomer shabbos people get priority and other somer shabbos people are pushed lower down the list because of a dress code they don't adhere to.
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