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Cpap Machine on Shabbos

If someone has sleep apnea and needs a Cpap machine to sleep, can that person use it on Shabbos and Yom Tov? Since it requires it to be turned on electrically? But is necessary to prevent serious medical complications?
Thank you

Answer:

It can be used, provided it is turned on automatically by means of a “time-clock.”

I know several people who make use of the machine on Shabbos by this method.

Best wishes and hope it helps.

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3 Comments

  1. I really am not qualified to offer a halachic opinion, so my comments are just general comments.

    First of all, it’s clear that Sleep Apnea, at least the severe cases, is a life threatening illness. The measures of severity are not really clear enough to say that with any certainly that somebody with a “mild” case might not be in danger.

    While the danger of immediate death or severe complications from one night of non-use is probably quote remote, the cumulative effect of missing every shabbat and every yom tov can be significant. However, in very ill patients, even one night can be dangerous.

    Compliance by patients – Jewish or otherwise – is only about 50%. This is because the actual or perceived “cumbersomeness” of even the newest units. Therefore, I really would hope that the rabbis recognize this and not try to incorporate additional encumbrances around CPAP use, such as requiring timers, requiring lower humidifier settings. or other rules for engaging and disengaging these machines on Shabbat or Yom Tov.

    1. As in any medical situation, each case has to be evaluated on its own, and there are exceptions to every rule. In general though, the same way doctors in the medical profession have guidelines of what may and may not be done, so too halacha has guidelines when we are allowed to desecrate the shabbos and how it has to be done. The rule is that if we are dealing with a situation that there is no immediate danger to someone’s life, that we may not just desecrate the shabbos, and that we have to look for different ways and means to give the person the medical help that he needs without desecrating the shabbos. One of these ways is to use a time clock, instead of the person actually turning the machine on himself. This doesn’t seem to be very cumbersome, and it is not going to negatively impact the treatment that is prescribed at all.

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