Ethics

For the week ending 31 January 2009 / 6 Shevat 5769

Waiting for the Hospital Elevator

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: On a recent visit to a hospital I found myself impatiently waiting for an elevator to take me up to the floor where I intended to visit a sick friend. When the elevator finally arrived I saw that it was packed with passengers and I would have to literally squeeze myself into the crowd. What was the right thing to do?

Answer: In office or apartment buildings care must be taken never to overload an elevator beyond its capacity. In regard to a hospital there are other considerations as well in deciding whether to enter the crowded elevator or wait for the next one. Patients in special situations may be using that elevator and adding to the crowding may be a cause of discomfort for them. If you see someone in a wheelchair on that elevator or a patient hooked to a stand with an intravenous connection you should do your utmost not to compromise the space they require.

Another few minutes of waiting is certainly preferable to causing discomfort for one sick person while on the way to visit another.

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