If a sick person whose life is not threatened needs to see a doctor on Shabbat for an examination or treatment, he should try to visit a religious doctor who knows how to avoid melakhot that are prohibited by Torah law. If he goes to a Jewish doctor who normally desecrates Shabbat, there is a concern that he will cause the doctor to desecrate Shabbat. For example, the doctor might turn on a light in order to examine him, write down his personal information, or write a prescription for him. We have already seen that only rabbinic prohibitions are suspended for the sake of caring for a sick person who is not dangerously ill, but Torah prohibitions remain in force. Furthermore, just as one should give preference to an observant doctor, one should also give preference to a hospital that operates in accordance with halakha. In hospitals that do not operate in accordance with halakha, he may encounter Jewish staff members who will transgress Torah prohibitions on his account.
If it is not possible to see an observant doctor or visit a hospital that operates in accordance with halakha, one may see a non-observant doctor as long as he requests that the doctor refrain from desecrating Shabbat by Torah law on his account. If the doctor insists on writing in the normal fashion or on doing other melakhot that are prohibited by Torah law, the patient should forgo the treatment to avoid aiding Shabbat desecration. Under pressing circumstances, when the exam and treatment are extremely urgent, the patient may rely on the lenient position and accept treatment from this doctor.
In any case, many are stringent here because in practice, one who sees a non-observant doctor on Shabbat indeed causes him to sin. The Torah commands us to reprove our fellow Jew in order to help them avoid sin. Yet here the patient is aiding the Shabbat desecration of the doctor. Those who are stringent include Zivĥei Tzedek, OĤ 2:19; Ben Ish Ĥai in Rav Berakhot, ma’arekhet lamed, 3; and Yesodei Yeshurun. See Harĥavot.