Q. (See above question 2283). Does it make a difference on food and drinks kept in a hospital room, if the patient who perished was a Jew or not?
A. Poskim disagree whether when a Gentile dies the water should be spilled. See Nitei Gavriel Avelus (1: 8: 8; n.14-15). Shach (Y.D. 339: 9) mentions two reasons for discarding the water that was present in the abode where someone died. Maharil explains that it is done to inform indirectly to all neighbors that nearby resident has passed away and their help and assistance may be needed. Communicating dreaded news directly is undesirable.
Tashbatz (444) asserts that the Angel of Death whets and cleans his knife and a drop of the blood of death may have fallen in. Other reasons are also given. (See Nitei Gavriel- Avelus (1: 8: 1; n. 2).
Horav Shlomo Miller’s opinion is that it would depend on the reason given. In practice the Rov maintains that the custom is to be lenient after the fact.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a