Let's say a person has allergies (such as penicillin). He is in good health, currently. However, if he were unconscious, EMT technicians would want to know about such info as this would affect the type of treatment he receives both during transport as well as while in E.R. until someone who knew him could supply necessary medical history.

Could he wear a med. emergency bracelet that contains this info on Shabbat? My understanding of the rules of tachshit (jewelry) is that it must be something that is used to "adorn" someone such as a gold bracelet or earings. This bracelet is not for "adornment", so I'm uncertain if this is permitted. Also, the person doesn't have even a safek piku'ach nefesh - at least not currently. He is in good health.

For that matter, I would apply this question to anyone, as the bracelet has emergency contact info, even if it has no personal med. info. This would be useful for an EMT as the relative can supply vital medical history, quickly.

In all this, I am assuming that there is no eruv.

1 Answer 1


Um, yes. Depending on the type of illness involved, it is certainly pikuach nefesh. (Usually, something that is identified on a Medic Alert bracelet is something serious)

Your argument that he is "[currently] in good health" is invalid -- if there is a concern (even sfek sfeika) that his life will be endangered later, one may violate Shabbos for that.

For some sources, see Can we violate Shabbos to inject a vaccine? and Could we drive an Ebola patient to quarantine on Shabbos?

A rav should be consulted on a case-by-case basis.

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    +1 this is accurate, though it dodges the (more interesting) question of if the bracelet/necklace is a tachshit or not, and hence to what extent the person needs to be hesitant to walk outside and/or find a shinui.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 17:05
  • @DoubleAA consider that part of the discussion involves taking it off to show someone in reshus harabim. Since this is a medical alert bracelet, or necklace, it would probably never be removed except to show the EMT. By that point it would be pikuach nefesh. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:31
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    Perhaps mention some of the views in the linked question. There does, after all, need to be some line drawn somewhere to exclude certain cases from pikuach nefesh. (e.g. IIRC R. S. Z. Auerbach said that it wold be forbidden to knock down a wall that could fall over and hurt someone, on Shabbos).
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:31
  • @sabbahillel It may be removed to show another illness-sufferer how it works, for instance.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:35
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    Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 40:7, Mahrash Engel 3:43, 7:20, Sefer 39 Melochos talks about medication (such as an epipen) on shabbos with no eruv. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:36

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