Beitar Yerushalayim Signs With United Hatzalah For Another Season

Beitar Yerushalayim, one of Israel’s premier soccer clubs, has signed United Hatzalah on to their team for another season. The management of the two organizations met on Monday in United Hatzalah’s headquarters in Jerusalem in order to ratify their continued partnership for the 2020/2021 season. 

From left – Moshiko Moskowitz, Eli Ohana, Eli Pollack, Moni Brosh, Dov Maisel

During the meeting, the management of the Beitar Yerushalayim Soccer Club expressed their satisfaction with the partnership between the two organizations from last season and agreed to continue working together for the coming season. United Hatzalah was brought on last year to provide medical security for all of the franchise’s games, both at the senior and junior levels. 

UH volunteer at a Beitar Yerushalayim game with his medkit last season – (Credit: Shira Hershkop)

Participants in the meeting included the Chairman of Beitar Yerushalayim Eli Ohana, CEO of United Hatzalah Eli Pollack, CEO of Beitar Yerushalayim Moni Brosh, Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel, and Director of the Operations Department of United Hatzalah Moshiko Moskovitz.  

UH volunteers safeguarding a game last season – (Credit: Shira Hershkop)

CEO of Beitar Yerushalayim Moni Brosh said: “We are very happy to continue this partnership with United Hatzalah. There is no doubt that these volunteers are among the most professional medical personnel who provide the highest level of care. They do not compromise when it comes to important matters such as the health and well being of our players and fans. We hope that they will have as little work as possible, but if the need should arise – we know that they will provide the best care available.”

UH volunteers safeguarding a Beitar game last season- (Credit: Shira Hershkop)

Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel said: “United Hatzalah is proud to continue our partnership with a team as important as Beitar Yerushalayim. Our volunteer EMTs, paramedics, and doctors, will continue their efforts to provide top-of-the-line medical care for the team and the fans during all of the games for the coming season. I want to wish the team the best of luck for the coming season.”  

 

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Sderot Hero Reunites With Man Who Saved His Life 12 Years Ago

Twelve years ago, Yaakov Bar Yochai, a resident of Sderot who is active in assisting those in need in the city no matter what time of day or night, was involved in a water ski accident in Eilat that left him unconscious, not breathing and pulseless. When he woke up in Yoseftal hospital a few days later, he didn’t remember anything about the accident. He was told that he had been saved by EMS personnel and that the first person to reach him and begin CPR on him was a volunteer from United Hatzalah who arrived on an ambucycle. 

Yaakov Bar Yochai Left – Meir Hajbi Right

As a result, sometime later, he started the first course for EMTs in his home town of Sderot and became a United Hatzalah volunteer first responder who himself has since saved many lives. However, something always bothered him. He never found the person who saved his life. He called the head of the Eilat chapter, Yossi Gozlan who told him that at the time, there was only one ambucycle in the city and that volunteer said he wasn’t the one who had saved Yaakov.  

 

For years, Yaakov tried to find the volunteer who saved his life so that he could thank him. Twelve years after the incident, Yaakov finally found him. His name is Meir Hajbi and he currently lives in Rehovot.

 

“I began my search for the person who saved me, Meir, three weeks after I was released from the hospital. I decided that I wanted to meet the person who saved me,” Yaakov said. “Had it not been for this man I wouldn’t be here.” 

 

The two men, now both United Hatzalah volunteers, met two weeks ago and shared their recollection of what had happened on that fateful day. “When I responded to the emergency Yaakov was unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse. I was 24-years-old at the time, just after my wedding,” Meir recalled. “ I was at home cooking lunch, and my wife was supposed to be coming home, but was running a bit late. All of a sudden I received an alert on my beeper from United Hatzalah that a person had drowned on Kisuki Beach. I knew it well from educational trips that my wife and I organized. As soon as I got the alert, I ran downstairs, put on my helmet, grabbed my medical kit, and raced to the beach on my ambucycle. Then I waited. I was at the beginning of the dock when a boat pulled up. They were doing something but I couldn’t tell what. They pulled Yaakov from the boat and I checked his vital signs. He was completely unresponsive. I began CPR. I initiated compressions, provided assisted breathing, attached oxygen, used an Ambu bag valve mask, and everything else we know from our training.” 

 

Hajbi continued, “An ambulance team arrived and attached him to a defibrillator and administered medications. We loaded him onto the ambulance, and it was only then that I recognized the man’s face. His brother studied with me in elementary school in Netivot. Their faces look alike. I asked the people who had accompanied him, ‘Is this man’s name Yaakov?’ They replied in the affirmative. As I closed the doors to the ambulance I began to pray as I always do whenever I administer CPR. This time, I prayed harder because it hit me close to home.” 

 

“After the incident was over I returned home. I checked a few days later with the hospital and they said that the patient recovered and was going to be transferred to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. That is when I basically put the story behind me and kept going with my normal life.”

 

Twelve years later, I got a call, from the head of the Eilat chapter who is a friend of mine. He said: ‘Tell me, do you recall this story?’ I replied: ‘Of course.’ Then I proceeded to tell him the details of the story. He told me, ‘Listen, the guy whose life you saved has been searching for you for a few years now. He put us on the phone together and we began sharing stories and connecting. He told me that he too was now in United Hatzalah and all that he has done. We made plans to meet, and when we did the world exploded.  It was amazing to hear about all of the good that Yaakov has been doing with his life, how our families are connected, and how he is helping people in Sderot every day. To me, it felt like I did one small action and as a result, I built the Azrieli towers. I simply cannot explain the power of the emotions that flowed between us during that meeting.”

 

“I was one of the first 300 volunteers with United Hatzalah,” said Hajbi. “I helped Yaakov 12 years ago and forgot all about it. It was another emergency that I had responded to and another person I helped. It is nice to see that good deeds come back to help others and get passed on. Now Yaakov is a volunteer as well and has been saving lives for years all because of what happened that day. Knowing that is a great feeling,” Hajbi concluded.  

 

Yaakov recounted his efforts to find his savior. “When I decided to join United Hatzalah I knew that I had to find the EMT who saved me. I tried calling everyone I could to help me find him. People had difficulty because he had moved out of the chapter and no one seemed to recall who it was. We knew it was an ambucycle driver but there was only one of those in the city and that was the previous chapter head who had also moved on and he had confirmed that it wasn’t him. I tried again and again. Only recently did I find out that it was Meir. We grew up together in the same town, in Netivot. Our families know one another very well.”

 

Meir, a teacher, added, “I’ve always told my students, wherever I teach, that they need to go out and volunteer and help others. I tell them that they do one good deed today, and they have no idea what good will eventually come from it. I’ve now told all of them this story to drive my point home. I’m happy that a lot of them listen.”

 

Yaakov concluded by explaining where he gets the drive to rush out to medical emergencies and leave his family even during his downtime when he is off duty. “People ask me all the time, where I find the energy and wherewithal to respond to emergencies when I am home with my family and away from my base. This is the answer. I received my life back as part of a miracle. A miracle conducted by God but carried out by Meir. It is my responsibility to give back and be a part of the miracle process to help others just as I was helped. If Meir had not found the time to respond then I wouldn’t be here. So now that I’ve lived through this story, I make the time to respond as well. 

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Rescue In A Yarkon Hotel

A few weeks ago on Tuesday, at 12:30 p.m. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center received a phone call regarding a serious injury that had just taken place in a Tel-Aviv hotel on HaYarkon Street. The dispatching system automatically alerted the five closest volunteers to the emergency.

Lior on his ambucycle

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Lior Eskenasy was one of those volunteers. Upon receiving the alert, Lior ran to his ambucycle, turned the switch and rushed off to the hotel, cutting through the busy afternoon traffic and arriving in less than three minutes. He dismounted from his ambucycle, grabbed his medical kit and rushed inside to the lobby where he was met by the hotel manager. The Manager ushered Lior upstairs to the hotel room where the incident had occurred.

Lior tried opening the hotel room door but it was locked from the inside. The manager directed Lior to an alternative door from an adjacent room. That door wouldn’t budge either. The determined EMT knew that it was imperative to get inside the room as a life may be dependent on it. He put his shoulder to the door and pushed as hard as he could until he finally managed to move the closet that had been blocking the door, gaining entry to the room.

“When I got inside, at first glance I thought that it was all over. It had looked like a murder scene straight from the TV,” said Lior. “The entire floor was covered with blood. I found a man lying motionless on the hotel bed and it seemed impossible to me that he could still be alive”

Lior ran over to the patient, moved the blood-soaked quilt and checked the man’s pulse. He looked at the man’s chest to assess his breathing and surprisingly saw that it was rising and falling. In spite of losing a lot of blood the man still had a heartbeat and was still breathing.

Lior saw deep lacerations on the man’s wrists and neck. As there was no one else in the room and the doors had been blocked from the inside, it appeared that the man had attempted to commit suicide.

Another United Hatzalah volunteer, Dr. Oren Sagiv, a physician who volunteers with United Hatzalah and often does ambulance shifts, arrived and assisted together with a third volunteer, also an ambucycle driver.

Together the three first responders took the sheets and covered the neck wound to stem the hemorrhaging while Lior set up an IV line and began to administer fluids to help raise the man’s blood pressure. They then bandaged the wrist wounds and Dr. Sagiv administered oxygen. The three volunteers fought to stabilize the man and then transferred him onto a backboard and rushed him out to the ambulance that had just arrived and was waiting to transport the man to the nearest trauma center.

“I’m glad that I arrived soon enough to help save the man, Lior said. “Had I been even a few moments later or had I waited to open the room the outcome may have been different. Thankfully, the man is now receiving the physical and psychological care he needs and is on his way to recovery.”

To support the work of volunteers like Lior please click here:

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Saving Lives While Vacationing On A Moshav

Nechama and Tom Eisenman live in Ramat Beit Shemesh and are United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs. One week they decided to go up north on a short break with their family for the weekend. On their way to the moshav they were staying at, Nechama realized she had forgotten her bluebird (United Hatzalah’s communication device) but she didn’t worry too much because her husband Tom had brought his.

Tom and Nechma Eisenman

While up north, early Friday morning, they received an alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. A man had fallen unconscious at his home. The couple jumped out of bed in a hurry and left to find the address of the unconscious man.

“Since we were in a moshav it was a lot harder to find the address,” said Nechama. “Houses aren’t numbered and neighbors don’t know the numbers of the houses on the moshav either. It took a little longer to find the house, but with the help of the dispatcher we finally found it and we ran inside”

They found the unconscious man. He had stopped breathing and had no pulse. The couple immediately began CPR until a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer arrived and relieved Nechama and took over compressions while Tom provided assisted breathing. “In situations such as these I just start praying, so that’s what I did. I prayed to God that this man be resuscitated,” Nechama explained. The team performed seven rounds of CPR before the man’s pulse finally returned after the seventh round. The man was then transferred to the nearest hospital in an ICU ambulance.

“It was a miracle that we finally got a pulse back,” Nechama exclaimed. “It was really crazy, it seemed that this man was going to die but we kept ongoing. We were determined to do everything we could to save his life.”

After the ambulance left with the patient who now had a viable pulse and would hopefully recover in the hospital, Nechama and Tom returned to their rented house to continue their vacation. The incident may have interrupted their morning sleep, but the feeling of saving a life made their vacation incredibly joyous and memorable.

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Corona Care Israel Offers Virtual Mental Health Aid to U.S. Health Workers and First Responders Battling Covid

This story was written by Abigail Klein Leichman and was originally published in the Jewish Standard

A group of Israeli mental-health professionals is offering free anonymous psychological first aid for New Jersey healthcare and law-enforcement personnel on the covid frontlines. The help is offered through a new project launched in partnership with voluntary first-response network United Hatzalah of Israel.

New Jersey is a test case for the pilot program, CoronaCare Israel. But the initiative began with a conversation between a New York physician and a psychologist in Israel who used to live in New York.

Dr. Sharon Slater sits in the dispatch center of United Hatzalah

A group of Israeli mental-health professionals is offering free anonymous psychological first aid for New Jersey healthcare and law-enforcement personnel on the covid frontlines. The help is offered through a new project launched in partnership with voluntary first-response network United Hatzalah of Israel.

New Jersey is a test case for the pilot program, CoronaCare Israel. But the initiative began with a conversation between a New York physician and a psychologist in Israel who used to live in New York.

The physician, anesthesiologist Dr. Ram Roth, said that the coronavirus pandemic marked the first time he ever felt life-threatening danger on the job. Intubating covid-19 patients at Mount Sinai Queens literally put him face to face with the infection.

He and his colleagues on the one hand worried that their personal protective equipment might not keep them safe enough, and on the other hand they worried that the equipment put an emotional barrier between them and their patients. Many also isolated themselves from their families to avoid the possibility of exposing them to the virus.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty about how to take care of patients and protect ourselves,” Dr. Roth said. “The instructions and guidelines were changing daily, and it was a very stressful time for us.”

Although the hospital offers psychological support for its staff, “I was worried that my colleagues might not feel comfortable going within our system and would prefer an outside, anonymous system that’s easy for them to access,” he said.

That’s why he contacted his friend Sharon Slater, a clinical psychologist who is licensed in New York State and has been practicing in Israel for 30 years. Dr. Slater is a member of United Hatzalah’s psychotrauma and crisis response unit.

Dr. Roth remembered that Dr. Slater had been part of a United Hatzalah team that flew to Texas to give psychological first aid to evacuees and relief workers after Hurricane Harvey, nearly three years ago.

“I was so proud of her work there, and the concept that Israel sends out people for such support,” Dr. Roth said. “These are people who have dealt with terrorism and terrible situations flying to the U.S. and helping. The difference between that and the current situation is that an incident is over in a certain time period, while here we had no sense of when the pandemic would be over and they couldn’t come here and do counseling face to face. But everyone is using Zoom and I thought it would be so cool if Sharon could do trauma therapy work remotely. She thought it was a great idea.”

Dr. Sharon Slater smiles with Dr. Einat Kaufman, the head of the UH Psychotrauma Unit and one of the 10-member team of volunteers for CoronaCare Israel. They’re in Texas in 2017, for a mental health crisis intervention following Hurricane Harvey

Dr. Slater gathered some colleagues, including Dr. Gary Quinn, a psychiatrist in Israel specializing in crisis intervention and the treatment of anxiety, depressive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She set up a Zoom meeting of the group and invited Dr. Roth to participate in a sample session with Dr. Quinn.

“He asked about my stress level at that moment and we discussed some of the issues behind it,” Dr. Roth said. “At the end of the session, after using certain techniques he gave me, my level went down from 10 to 5 or 6. Subsequently, I had three more sessions with Dr. Quinn privately and he’s still available to me. Just that knowledge that I can reach out when I am overwhelmed really made me feel better.”

That exploratory meeting was back in March. Encouraged by the results, Dr. Slater recruited 10 mental-health professionals — eight of them American ex-pats, another two who speak Spanish.  Under the guidance of Dr. Quinn and Dr. Batya Ludman, they created a protocol to provide anonymous long-distance mental-health care, grief counseling, and emotional stabilization for first responders and medical professionals.

CoronaCare Israel was introduced in late June as a pilot program coordinated by United Hatzalah’s New Jersey regional director, Miriam Tennenbaum of Teaneck. Over the last five years, the organization has formed affiliated United Rescue squads in Jersey City and Englewood, modeled on the Israeli network of voluntary neighborhood-based emergency medical responders.

“We wanted to start small to make sure this was a need, and we also have great friends here,” Ms. Tennenbaum said.

She is publicizing CoronaCare Israel to doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians, law-enforcement officers — to any professional who’s been on the covid frontlines.

“We’ve asked clergy of all faiths to spread the word,” she said. “We reached out to the volunteer ambulance corps in Teaneck and Bergenfield, and to our United Rescue units in Jersey City and Englewood. We are trying to make sure anyone who can benefit from this service hears about it.”

Ms. Tennenbaum said that the diminishing number of infections locally makes the service even more relevant now.

“We’ve been seeing that healthcare providers in the thick of it have time to process their emotions now that the number of covid cases has decreased,” she said. “Through this initiative, they can get support and tools to manage a possible second wave and mitigate burnout.

“What sets this emotional and mental support service apart from others already available through social organizations and hospitals is the level of expertise our volunteers have in the field, and mainly the free service that is completely anonymous and confidential.”

CoronaCare Israel appointments, by video or voice call, are available 24/7 through an anonymous signup link at www.bit.ly/UHCoronaCare. “Confidentiality is of prime importance to us, and we will never require any identifying details,” Ms. Tennenbaum said.

“The fact that we don’t know them is a key point,” Dr. Slater said. “Dr. Roth and I discussed at length why many healthcare workers didn’t reach out for mental health support available to them, even though they were clearly crashing under the load of the surge. Our program was developed to address at least some of those issues. Anonymity is a big piece of it.”

Stress, burnout, and “a great sense of being alone” are common among these professionals, she continued. “They’re wrapped in PPE and can’t communicate easily with other members of the staff or with their patients, and many are staying apart from their spouses and children,” she noted.

The trauma frontline medical workers experience during this pandemic “is very different than the kind of stress we usually see in a traumatic situation in the sense that this is not a discrete traumatic incident,” Dr. Slater added. “It doesn’t have a defined endpoint, and that adds significantly to the trauma. They don’t have time to process today before heading into tomorrow. And that’s a real recipe for PTSD.”

CoronaCare Israel aims to provide “brief practical techniques that allow them to learn to lower their stress levels on their own with a little practice and help them calm themselves in moments when they feel themselves getting anxious.”

Dr. Khaya Eisenberg, a clinical psychologist from Passaic who now lives in Israel, working on research at Hadassah Medical Center, also is on the team. “During the shutdown here in Israel in March, I was put on leave from my job and I had extra time and wanted to contribute to the situation somehow,” Dr. Eisenberg said.

“I heard a podcast where the host described an interview with a doctor who was struggling. I thought maybe I can provide emotional support to doctors.”

Dr. Eisenberg put out feelers and eventually was introduced to Dr. Slater, who was organizing the initiative then. “She invited me to be part of this group just before Pesach,” she said. “Dr. Quinn did several online trainings I attended on the self-care protocol and the team developed its own protocol using exercises they had found effective in helping people manage stress.”

If CoronaCare Israel is successful in New Jersey, United Hatzalah may offer the service to other areas of the United States that were hard hit by covid-19. There are about 350 people in the organization’s psychotrauma and crisis response unit, and CoronaCare Israel is not limited to members of that unit. “We have a number of additional mental-health professionals lined up if we see a large response and want to train more,” Dr. Slater said.

“I recommended it to everyone around me and I hope they use it,” Dr. Roth said. “It’s about listening, affirming feelings, and helping us identify what we can control.

“For me, what was very difficult is that I haven’t had to pronounce someone dead since I was a resident, but here an overwhelming amount of patients were dying. In talking to Dr. Quinn, I realized I need to take a more active satisfaction in doing even the little things I can do in my interactions with the patient, like using my own phone to help patients connect with their family on a daily basis.”

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The Psychotrauma And Crisis Response Unit To The Rescue

One Tuesday Morning Elad Tomer, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and member of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) had just finished buying his groceries at the supermarket when he was alerted by dispatch to a traffic accident nearby. Elad jumped in his car, sped off to the scene, and arrived a few moments later.

Elad Tomer getting his medical gear out of the car

When Elad arrives at an incident, he always keeps his eyes open for victims in need of psychological first aid. Looking around he found two vehicles that had collided at a traffic circle and quickly checked the occupants to assess the severity of their injuries. Fortunately, none of the occupants showed signs of serious physical injuries, but one of the drivers, a 28-year-old Muslim woman, was deep in the throes of an anxiety attack. The young woman sat frozen on the curb beside her car, unable to speak or move her legs.

Drawing on his extensive training as a PCRU responder, Elad immediately set out to help the victim release herself from the stress that she was feeling following the traumatic accident. “You’re not alone,” Elad told the woman. “I am here to help you.”

Elad helped the woman understand that she had been in an accident, but that nobody was injured, the danger had passed, and that she was safe from harm. He continued to explain that an ambulance was on its way and that they might recommend taking her to the hospital for further evaluations.

Elad instructed the woman to perform several tasks to guide her out of her sense of helplessness. He gave her his blood pressure monitor to hold as he checked her vitals. Elad encouraged her to notify relatives about the accident and to decide what she’d like to bring with her on the ambulance. Slowly the woman began to regain her composure and was able to move her legs again. With the arrival of the ambulance a few minutes later, Elad helped the now stable patient aboard for the journey to the hospital where her recovery would continue.

Elad explained the importance of the work that the PCRU does at the scene of a traumatic medical emergency. “In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, the impact of psychological first aid on the victims and witnesses can be incredibly powerful and empowering for the victim.” he continued “Mental and emotional stabilization can reduce the risk of developing an acute stress reaction to the incident and it is believed that early intervention can reduce the chances of the person developing PTSD at a later time. Having someone at the scene who helps the patient process what they just went through can avert the need for months or even years of therapy afterward.”

To support the work of our Psychotrauma and Crisis Respons Unit (PCRU) please click here:

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Having The Tools To Save A Life

One recent evening United Hatzalah volunteer Meidan Ben Yoash provided medical coverage during a football game in Ashdod. After the game, Meidan was headed home on his ambucycle when the organization’s dispatch alerted him to a road accident at the upcoming junction. Meidan immediately flipped on his siren and arrived at the scene within seconds.

Meidan with his son at a game earlier this year

When he arrived at the accident he found a car had overturned after the driver lost control of the wheel. As he looked around he found one of the passengers lying on the asphalt. The passenger had been thrown from the vehicle and had suffered numerous injuries. Meidan approached the man and saw that the woman’s injuries were bleeding profusely. Meidan grabbed his medical kit and proceeded to bandage the woman’s wounds and treated her other injuries. He affixed a neck brace and stabilized her for emergency transportation to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived and whisked her to the nearest hospital.

After treating the severely injured woman, Meidan proceeded to treat two other victims who had both sustained some minor injuries in the accident. After giving them the care that they needed, and bandaging them as well, they too were evacuated for further treatment.

“Given the severity of the impact, this woman is lucky to be alive,” said Meidan. “It’s lucky that I happened to be nearby on my ambucycle with all the medical tools and resources I needed to treat her. I’m just glad to have been there in the first critical moments to stabilize her”.

To support the work of volunteers like Meidan lease click here:

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Keep Fit And Save Lives – The Race To Save Lives 5K

From July 12th until August 16th, United Hatzalah of Israel is inviting people from all across the globe to participate in an international race that is taking place in local parks, streets, and even in the comfort of one’s own home. ‘The Race To Save Lives 5K’ is a virtual five-kilometer/three-mile race that people can participate in without leaving their own neighborhoods. Due to health concerns revolving around the current coronavirus pandemic, this is a difficult time for everyone. It is a challenge to stay healthy and stay connected with one another and raise money to save lives. 

Running in support of United Hatzalah in the Jerusalem Marathon

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “One of the best ways to stay healthy is to keep active. Under the strain and social distancing of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, it has become very difficult for people to keep up a regular workout routine. We are taking the initiative and giving people a goal while creating a forum where people can run together even as they maintain social distancing. While we would love to have a largescale group run, public health comes first. Through this project, runners will not only be helping themselves stay active as they train for the five-kilometer run, but they will also help us save lives while they are at it.” 

 

The organization will be providing runners with a month-long training plan that will include group coaching, team building, health tips, running tricks, swag such as masks and t-shirts, and even specialized running playlists suggested by other runners. Inspirational stories of running rescues will also be sent to participants who will have the opportunity to learn and share information about running with one another as well as hear from volunteer EMTs who themselves run regularly and have saved lives along the way. 

United Hatzalah volunteers running in the Jerusalem Marathon in 2019 after making a rescue during the marathon itself.

The race itself will take place on August 16th, and will be shared virtually between runners. Following the race, there will be a virtual award ceremony for the fastest runners and the fastest teams. 

Participants can register via the website https://savelives5k.com/ and can choose to run by themselves or as part of a team. The fundraising goal for runners over the age of 18 is $500 and for those under 18, it is $250. All of the funds raised will go directly to aiding United Hatzalah in saving lives across Israel. While participating, United Hatzalah encourages participants to share inspiration with friends and loved ones by posting photos they take of themselves on social media. 

All participating teams will receive vouchers for supplies that will enable them to throw a socially distant outdoor celebration at a location of their choosing. Teams that surpass their fundraising goal will also win special prizes.

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The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done The Night Before An Exam

By – Ravit Staub

Last Tuesday night I participated in an ambulance shift on one of United Hatzalah’s mobile intensive care units that was stationed in Tel Aviv. In addition to being a volunteer EMT, I’m a medical student, and in truth, I should have been studying for my final exam in organic chemistry, but participating as an EMT on an ICU ambulance is something that I love to do. I’ve been a volunteer EMT for six years and riding on the back of ICU ambulances for four of them. I have found that being out in the field gives me renewed energy for my studies as it makes me remember why I chose to study medicine in the first place.

The ambulance team – ambulance team from left Dr. Oren Sagiv, Yigal Bar Kama, Ravit Staub – With Yomni behind the camera

During the shift, we had a CPR call. I was with a terrific team of first responders including Yagel Bar Kama, our first-time driver on an ICU ambulance but a really experienced EMT and a wonderful person all around, paramedic Yoni Rosenfeld who is always ready to teach and instruct others and is incredibly giving and helpful, and none other than Doctor Oren Sagiv, who I simply cannot say enough good things about. His professionalism and patience know no bounds. His bedside manner is second to none and he is truly a pleasure to learn from. In spite of my years of experience, I found that with this incredible team I still learned an immense amount about patient care in the field.

 

A few hours into our shift we received an emergency alert from dispatch sending us to respond to an unconscious person. We rushed to the scene, arriving in less than three minutes. The man was in his apartment located up four flights of stairs. When we arrived inside, we found the man lying on the floor. He was conscious and as we took an oral history, he responded to our questions. Suddenly, he slipped out of consciousness. We connected a heart monitor and saw that his pulse was down around 20. His blood pressure was unreadable. We began treatment and attached him to the defibrillator. We opened an IV line, administered medications, and assisted breathing.

 

Over and over again he kept losing his pulse. When we performed compressions it came back, only to disappear again. At one point, after the man lost his pulse I began another round of compressions, when the patient suddenly opened his eyes, looked at me, and took my hands off of his chest. Then he lost consciousness again this time for a while. I was really impressed by how hard all of the first responders present were fighting for this man’s life. There was vomit everywhere and not a single person paused for even a minute in the fight to save his life.

 

From the readout on the monitor, the man was suffering from myocardial infarction in his lower ventricle. Another ambulance arrived and their team of paramedics attached a LUCAS chest compression system and the machine began to deliver compressions automatically. After the patient was intubated and stabilized we decided to get him to the ambulance below, which was no small feat as the stairwell was too narrow to bring down the stretcher bed. We had to put him in the elevator in a sitting position, while he was receiving compressions from the LUCAS machine. As I was the smallest person among the staff of the two ambulances present, it was my job to go with him in the elevator and make sure that the machine stayed on target and kept delivering the compressions properly during his ride down. This was something that is so way out of protocol, something that happens maybe once a decade somewhere on the planet.  As crazy a decision as it was, everyone in that room would make the same choice to do the same crazy thing again if it meant giving the man a chance to live.

 

When we got downstairs, we turned the stretcher bed back into a bed and brought the patient into the waiting ambulance. On the way to the trauma center, Dr. Sagiv had to push adrenaline numerous times to keep the patient alive. He saved the man’s life numerous times. When we arrived at Ichilov hospital, we transferred the patient to the trauma center and then proceeded to disinfect and restock the ambulance.

Dr. Sagiv and Ravit visit the patient in the hospital

We continued with the shift and responded to other calls, but for me, that was probably the most dramatic and one of the strangest emergencies that I have ever responded to. The man we treated got his life back that night. The next morning I took my exam and thankfully in spite of my exhaustion, I passed. On Thursday I went with Dr. Sagiv to visit the man in the hospital. His wife was ecstatic to see us and kept thanking us over and over for saving her husband. The man told us that he was recovering well and that the only thing that hurt was the lingering chest pain he felt from the LUCAS machine. May all of our CPR patients end up this way.

 

Learning medicine during the Corona era can be very frustrating, as all of the learning is now conducted remotely. I have heard from many of my fellow students how frustrated and confused they are by how the material is being taught and the lack of hands-on application. Some of them even feel a sense of helplessness now that it is exam time because they feel underprepared by the curriculum. This emergency centered me and reminded me very clearly why I chose to study medicine in the first place. I witnessed a doctor who arrived at a scene that threw a whole series of complications at him, while he stayed cool, collected, composed, professional, and never for a second let the scenario rattle him from his mission. He simply refused to give up. I feel like I merited to be a part of something very special that night.

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Two Women Save Their Neighbor’s Life After He Collapsed In Front Of His Children

Last Tuesday, Talia Brauer and Tina Berkowitz, two United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs from the town of Ein Hod, which is located in a remote area of the Hof HaCarmel region, saved the life of one of their neighbors. The incident occurred when Talia received a phone call from a woman who lives nearby alerting Talia that the woman’s husband was feeling ill. Talia dropped what she was doing and rushed over to the person’s house. When she arrived, she found the man had already collapsed. He had suffered a heart attack and was in the middle of a VF (ventricular fibrillation). He had no pulse and was not breathing.

Tina (left) Talia (right) in Talia’s home in Ein Hod

Tina, who also lives in the neighborhood, received the alert from United Hatzalah’s dispatch and command center and also rushed over to the address. Talia had begun CPR by the time that Tina arrived so Tina immediately attached a defibrillator to the patient.

“The man is my neighbor. I see him all the time,” said Tina. “He was lying pulseless on his floor. I attached a defibrillator to him and after receiving one shock, he woke up.  Not only did he regain a pulse, he even regained consciousness. It was like you see it on TV and it rarely happens in real life,” Tina exclaimed. “The man is in his 60’s and still has some children living with him. He has a history of cardiac issues. I am so thankful that God sent him back to us. He woke up after one shock and the first thing he asked was ‘where are my children?’”. As the pair waited for the ambulance to arrive, Tina went to console the wife and children and explain what had happened in the hopes that it would help them calm down. “Everything will be alright now,” she reassured them. Talia, the other medic, continued to treat the patient and made sure that he was stable until the ambulance arrived.

 

Talia spoke about her part in the dramatic rescue. “When I arrived, the man was semi-conscious. Together with his wife, I lowered him off of his chair and onto the floor and a few seconds later he was unconscious. I began CPR and asked his wife to attach the defibrillator but she panicked. Tina arrived and attached the defibrillator and a few seconds after we delivered one shock, the man revived. When he came back he looked at me and said; “Thank you for saving my life.” I told him. “The whole town still needs you. It isn’t your time to go.”

 

The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, thanked Talia and Tina for saving his life. “When I felt ill, I knew that I was suffering a heart attack. I’ve had them before. I went into my house, chewed some aspirin, told my wife to call Talia who is on the rescue team of the town, and who I know is a United Hatzalah volunteer, and as soon as I was done drinking the water with my aspirin, I collapsed. The next thing I knew, Talia and Tina were leaning over me and I woke up with a defibrillator attached to me. I want to thank Talia, Tina, and United Hatzalah, for being there for me and saving my life. The fact that Talia had a defibrillator on her was what saved me because a person doesn’t come back from ventricular fibrillation without a defibrillator.”

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