Rav Chaim Kanievsky: Is There a Mitzva of Bikur Cholim To Visit Someone Lying in a Coma?
The Rosh in Parshas Vayeira says that if you visit a sick person who is sleeping, you still have the mitzva of Bikur Cholim because when he wakes up they will tell the sick person that you visited and he will feel good. What about someone who is in a coma? Is there a mitzva to visit them?
The gemara implies that the mitzva of bikur cholim is to take care of the sick person's needs. If there is something you can do for the comatose patient, says Rav Chaim Kanievsky, you certainly have performed the mitzva. The Shita of the Rambam is that the mitzva is to daven for a sick person's recovery. Rav Chaim says that if your visit will cause you to daven, this may be part of the mitzva and you should go visit.
Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.
J , London, 2012-01-29 12:58:21 I read that many people in a coma do sense people around them and sometimes even hear them, although someone in a coma cannot respond. One must be careful what one says in case they hear and understand.