The seriously ill patient.

58. One may telephone on the Sabbath in order to seek medical help or to call an ambulance for a patient who is or may be seriously ill, provided there is no other way of doing so without setting aside the Sabbath. One may phone a doctor even if one is not sure that he is at home[91]. Even if one could go to call a doctor living a short distance away, but in so doing the patient would be left alone and afraid, the telephone may be used[92]. If the situation is critical and immediate help is essential, Sabbath laws may be set aside and no alternatives sought in order to obtain this help. See also paragraph 5 above.

59. The telephone should preferably be lifted off the hook in an unusual fashion[93], for example, with the elbow, together with someone else, or, if alone, using both hands[94] (see paragraph 5 above). There is no need to minimize the use of words (as is the case with writing), but one should say whatever is necessary for the patient, even adding pleasantries such as "thank you" and "Shabbat Shalom"[95]. One may not however use the opportunity in order to hold a conversation not pertaining to the patient or his care[96].

60. The receiver must be returned to its place (in an unusual fashion if possible), otherwise the doctor or ambulance station receiving the call may find their phone unusable[97].

61. A non-observant or non-Jewish doctor may be called even if there is a local observant doctor, if the former is a specialist. This is true even in the event that one knows that the non-observant doctor will surely desecrate the Sabbath unnecessarily as a result of the call[98].

62. A pregnant woman who feels that labor has started may telephone for an ambulance or cab to take her to the hospital (see paragraphs 156 and 157 below)[99].

The non-seriously ill patient.

63. It is forbidden to use the telephone on the Sabbath for a non-seriously ill patient[100]. On the Festivals, however, the telephone may be used for such a patient[101].

[91] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:36.

[92] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:37.

[93] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:47.

[94] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:40. See Nishmat Avraham Pt. 5, Orach Chayyim 347:1, according to which an unusual fashion is preferable to two people acting together.

[95] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:41.

[96] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:41; see Nishmat Avraham Pt. 1, Orach Chayyim 338:1 (page 242).

[97] See Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:42 and note 114.

[98] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:45.

[99] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 36:9.

[100] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 33:3.