Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Halachic Essays for Medical Students and Residents

Dr. Akiva Bergman writes:

I have been a casual observer of the evolution of the NMHS- it is a wonderful opportunity to pool resources and join efforts for the sake of enhancing adherence to halacha and committment to G-d in a field that poses many challenges to these ideals. I was not planning on posting any 'blogs" but I was encouraged by Dr. Reichman to respond to a recent posting concerning shabbos observance. I will not respond directly to the questions raised in that post but will share some general comments.

One, for the benefit of members of the society I have decided to make available a brief compilation of halachos that are pertinent to medical school and residency that I wrote while training in Internal Medicine. This has been reviewed extensively by Dr. A.S. Abraham, Dr. Reichman, Dr. Rosner and many others (it should be noted that none of the above take responsibilty for what is written nor necessarily agree with all the points contained therein). I view it as a work in progress and am not ready to publish it yet. I would greatly encourage all members of the society to at least skim through it- comments, corrections, and additions will be greatly appreciated. Medical students and residents from around the country have already benefited and contributed.

See linked documents:
Shomer Shabbos Residency & Footnotes
Med School and Residency Halachos


At 7:43 PM, Anonymous daat y said...


At 5:36 PM, Blogger Charlie Hall said...

Great resources! Thanks!!!

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous potential med student said...

Thank you for sharing your well written and very insightful essay. I have one very pressing question. In your conclusion you state the following:

"It is not the ideal situation for a Shabbos-observing Jew to be placed in and there are many almost insurmountable technical halachic issues faced in every such residency that regardless of the ultimate halachic ruling one receives from his own halachic decisor should strongly dissuade one from entering such a dangerous situation."

If so, in your opinion, is it reasonable for a thinking student to enter medical school without having a guarantee of securing a shomer-shabbos residency upon graduation? The footnote to the above quotation states:

"There is one possible option for those who wish to join a residency program that will not guarantee that they will not have duties on Shabbos or Yom Tov. That is for the resident to hire a non-Jew to accompany him in the hospital on Shabbos and do any melachos that may be necessary. Such a solution is technically demanding and quite complicated in actual practice. "

This seems to offer some hope for those who cannot secure a shomer-shabbos residency. However, will all hospitals allow for such an arrangement? It seems that there are practical concerns with such an arrangement that go beyond halacha. If so, once again, I ask, how can a thinking student enter medical school without a guarantee of securing a shomer shabbos residency and without even a guarantee of being able to employ the back-up plan of hiring a non-Jew to accompany him in the hospital. After all, if neither of these solutions are possible upon graduation, is such a student to abandon his pursuit of medicine after already completing medical school? Would you advise a student who is in the process of deciding whether or not to pursue a medical career to avoid medicine for these reasons?


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