Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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PICC line

14 June, 2006

Question:

I have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and have started chemotherapy treatments this past week. To get my treatments I have had a PICC line attached to my arm where all treatments and blood work will be done.
The PICC line prevents having to be poked and is a needle inserted into my left arm. The nurses at the hospital say it is essential not to get it wet.
When showering I wear a plastic glove that covers 95% of my left arm. My question is, Is there any way I may go to the mikveh with a Shinu'yi (some sort of change) like having my arm out? Or may I be exempt from going this one time?
I just want to know how it works…


Answer:

We are sorry to hear of your illness and wish you a refuah shleimah.

Immersion requires that the entire body be submerged. Therefore, leaving out your arm invalidates immersion. Until a solution is found, you cannot use the mikveh.

However, in cases of medical need, there are potential solutions that would allow you to immerse to be tehorah at this difficult time in your life.  In order to help you better, we would need more information about your treatment. In particular, we need to know for how long the PICC line is scheduled to remain and why they decided on a PICC line as opposed to a subcutaneous port. Please also ask your physician directly whether a single brief immersion in clean, chlorinated water would be acceptable, and how it could be handled.


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