On Saturday night, just after 7:00 p.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yossi Teshuva was sitting with his family for dinner when Yossi’s communications device began to buzz. Two medical emergencies were occurring simultaneously in the Ma’ale Adumim area. One is an incident of fainting, the other a stabbing incident.
Yossi did a quick calculation of the distance between him and each emergency and how many volunteers were available to respond to either. Estimating that most of the volunteers would rush to the stabbing incident and that the incident of fainting was just two short blocks away, Yossi decided to respond to the fainting incident.
Within three minutes, Yossi had arrived at the given address and was the first person at the scene. He found an unconscious 78-year-old woman lying on the ground. He checked her vital signs and discovered that this was no ordinary incident of fainting, the woman had no pulse and was demonstrating agonal breaths.
Yossi quickly attached his defibrillator and got to work, launching into full-blown CPR while requesting immediate back-up from the dispatcher. Slowly, volunteers came rushing in to join in the fight in an effort to save the woman’s life.
After seven minutes of chest compressions and assisted ventilation a mobile intensive care ambulance arrived at the scene and joined the CPR efforts. A heart monitor was attached and the unresponsive woman was given medications in an effort to revive her. Three minutes later, one of the paramedics at the scene announced that the woman’s pulse had returned. Even though she was still unconscious, the woman was stable enough to be transported to the nearest hospital.
“There is no such thing as an easy emergency,” commented Yossi. “I say this all the time. As an EMT, you can never be too sure what you are going to walk into when you respond to a medical emergency. You simply can’t know what to expect. You always have to be on your toes with your guard up, ready for any emergency. In this instance, I did not expect to find a woman who had just suffered a heart attack. The alert I received described fainting, but I have learned on this job to never assume anything. Once I saw the woman was unconscious, I wasted no time in providing the appropriate response. Thanks to my thinking counter-intuitively, the woman’s life was saved that night. This is how I have come to think as a first responder. Help everyone who needs it, and respond to the seemingly less urgent calls just as you would with the urgent ones, with the same vigilance and care.”
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