On Tuesday morning, a 105-year-old woman choked while eating her breakfast in her own home in Haifa. Both her son-in-law and her caretaker were with her as her face turned blue and she started to lose consciousness. Upon recognizing the situation they immediately called emergency services for help.
In the same neighborhood, a young woman had just called emergency services a few minutes earlier as she had been experiencing severe labor contractions. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shlomo Feder was one of the first responders who had been dispatched to the pregnant woman. Shlomo arrived at the scene, assessed the woman’s condition, and helped her with breathing techniques as they waited for the ambulance. Once the crew was on location Shlomo helped them load the woman onto the ambulance. It was at that moment that his emergency communications device alerted him to the second emergency regarding the older choking woman that was also occurring nearby. As the ambulance crew had the situation with the woman in labor under control, Shlomo raced over to the address of the choking woman to provide an initial response.
Shlomo arrived at the house in less than 90 seconds. As he ran inside and into the kitchen, Shlomo found two other local EMTs who had arrived just seconds before. They were taking the patient’s vitals and declared the woman to have no pulse and was not breathing.
Shlomo asked the others to help him lay her down on the floor so that they can start resuscitative efforts immediately. They used a suction tool to clear her mouth and airway from the pieces of apple that she had choked on. Shlomo attached his defibrillator and they worked together performing chest compressions and providing ventilation to the patient. One shock was administered followed by several rounds of CPR.
An intensive care ambulance arrived at the scene after a few minutes and the paramedic rushed in to assist in administering medications and intubating the patient. After around 15 minutes of continued CPR, the woman’s pulse returned to her body and she started to breathe independently. The feeling of happiness and relief was unanimous.
“The woman’s son-in-law came over to thank me afterward,” recounted Shlomo. “He was so grateful and thanked us for saving his 105-year-old mother-in-law. We didn’t know her age until the son-in-law told us. It didn’t occur to me to even ask because whenever I perform a resuscitation or provide treatment of any kind, the age of the patient doesn’t usually make a difference. Our only concern is saving the life of whoever it is. However, once we heard that she was 105, it gave me a sense of even greater joy that I was able to help her continue to live out her long life.”
Shlomo concluded by saying, “Going from a birth to a successful CPR was a wonderful start to my day. I want to thank the other EMS responders who worked together with me during the CPR. It’s no doubt thanks to our quick response that the woman was successfully resuscitated. Saving the life of a 105-year-old woman is not something a person gets to be part of every day.”
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