Lakewood, NJ – For the past few years, members of our community have had difficulty entering the 5th floor maternity ward at Monmouth Medical Center on Shabbos and Yom Tov. This was due to the presence of a security camera at the top of the stairwell. Many Rabbonim maintain the opinion that one may not allow himself to be videotaped on Shabbos if he will benefit from being seen in the video.
Until now, the only way for the security guard to know to buzz the person in, was by seeing him in the video screen. Therefore, the p’sak of many rabbonim was that one may not enter the 5th floor maternity ward on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
In an amazing display of respect and sensitivity to their Orthodox patients, the hospital administration has made unprecedented changes to correct this issue.
The security camera was moved to a different location in the stairwell.
The procedure for entering the 5th floor maternity ward on Shabbos and Yom Tov is as follows.
Upon entering the hospital lobby, one should tell the security guard that in five minutes he will need to enter the 5th floor through the stairwell.
Five minutes later, the guard on the 5th floor will press the buzzer at his desk, which will unlock the door for about 10-15 seconds.
(The guard can talk to you over the intercom, but you cannot respond without pressing the intercom button.)
It should be noted that this protocol is only needed for the 5th floor. The 6th floor maternity ward as well as the labor and delivery unit can be accessed by simply knocking loudly on the door to the department. The staff will hear the knock and buzz you in.
The administration of MMC has gone above and beyond to help our community, and it is greatly appreciated.
The rabbonim involved, led by Rav Yaakov Forchheimer and Rabbi Shmuel Meir Katz, have sent a warm thank you letter to the hospital administration for their help on this issue and issues pertaining to kohanim.