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This article says:

Any procedure which is necessary to perform for the patient, but it is clear that it does not at all need to be performed on Shabbat, should be delayed until after Shabbat.

How is "need to be performed" defined? Let's say a person is taking a daily medicine for some condition (and assume taking it involves doing a melacha). Can he take it on Shabbos because of pikuach nefesh concerns? Skipping a dose each Shabbos will not immediately kill him, but it will shorten his lifespan (so you can say it will 'kill him' later).

  • Why is he taking the medication? Is it for a life-threatening illness (in the long run, at least)? – DonielF Nov 22 '19 at 17:20
  • @DonielF Correct - a condition that is life-threatening in the long run. Meaning that having the condition does damage to the body any time it's not kept at bay, and to keep it at bay the medicine needs to be taken frequently [say, every 3 hours]. The damage doesn't kill immediately, but shortens the lifespan. – user9806 Nov 22 '19 at 18:11
  • I also assume this question follows Rav Moshe and not the Chazon Ish, as the latter holds medicine taken regularly even for a non-life threatening illness can be taken on Shabbos? – DonielF Nov 22 '19 at 18:13
  • This question is not particularly about medicine. It's about what constitutes 'pikuach nefesh' - how close in the future does the threat to life have to be for it to be considered "danger to life". Depending on the specific scenario, it could be a medicine that removes the threat, or it could be some action (which might involve an av melacha). – user9806 Nov 22 '19 at 18:33
  • To put it yet another way - if you drive someone critically ill to the hospital, you're prolonging his life (let's say from t+few hours to t+many years). While in this case, you do a melacha/give medicine/etc. so that his life is prolonged from t+few years to t+many years. Is there really a difference halachically between the two scenarios, and if so what are the relevant time parameters. – user9806 Nov 23 '19 at 23:49

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