Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (11):736-737 (2020)

Abstract
Solnica et al argue that “Jewish law and modern secular approaches based on professional responsibilities obligate physicians to care for all patients even those with communicable diseases”. The authors base their viewpoint on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg and apply it to suggest that physicians are obligated to endanger themselves during epidemics, such as COVID-19. It is argued that Solnica et al’s analysis of Rabbi Waldenberg’s text and their conclusion that healthcare workers are obligated to endanger themselves while treating patient who suffer from contagious illness during epidemics according to Jewish law suffer from various shortcomings. Indeed, Jewish law looks favourably on healthcare workers who take a reasonable risk in treating their patients in the context of epidemics. However, it is considered a voluntary supererogatory act—not obligatory. Solnica et al may express a legitimate ethical viewpoint. However, it does not seem to represent the mainstream approach of what Jewish law would demand as obligatory from its practitioners.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2020-106622
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