Menachem Shechter lives in the city of Bnei Brak in Israel, is a devoted husband and father of three. Menachem runs a shoe store in Bnei Brak and also volunteers as a United Hatzalah EMT and as a Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) first responder, providing psychological first aid at the scenes of traumatic incidents. Menachem has been responding to medical emergencies and saving lives for over 8 years, often responding to numerous emergencies per day.
On a recent Thursday, Menachem had a uniquely busy day and responded to multiple back-to-back emergencies. The first call came in around 1:00 pm; after a baby had lost consciousness near Menachem’s store. Menachem rushed over to the location performed CPR on the pulseless baby and then (as a seasoned PCRU responder) followed the ambulance to the hospital to provide emotional and psychological support to the distraught family.
After he made sure that the family was receiving the support they needed at the hospital, Menachem received another alert regarding a motor vehicle accident that had occurred nearby. Jumping on his ambucycle once again, Menachem rushed out to the road accident and arrived in under three minutes. Arriving first at the scene, Menachem found a motorcyclist who had skidded on the rain-slicked roads. The biker was thrown to the ground and the heavy rear wheel ran over his leg causing a severe injury. Menachem treated the man’s leg wound as he reassured the shocked victim. By the time an ambulance arrived 20 minutes later, the man’s leg had been expertly bandaged and the patient was stable.
At around 3:00 pm, a 16-year-old teen, distracted by the loud music from his headphones, meandered off the sidewalk onto the road and suffered a blow to his head from the mirror of a passing Jeep. The teen briefly lost consciousness as witnesses urgently called emergency dispatch. Menachem was nearby when the emergency occurred and rushed over. He arrived on the scene within 90 seconds thanks to his ambucycle and close proximity to the incident. Together with two other United Hatzalah volunteers who arrived shortly after him, Menachem treated the teen and once he regained consciousness gently explained to him that he had been in an accident. Menachem covered the teen with a thermal blanket to prevent hypothermia and affixed a neck brace due to the risk of spinal cord injury. Twelve minutes later, an ambulance arrived and transported the young man to the hospital for further treatment.
At around 5:15 pm, the ambucycle medic responded to a 60-year-old Spanish woman in respiratory distress. Despite the language barrier, Menachem gleaned that the woman had been diagnosed with pneumonia three days ago but had misunderstood the doctor and not actually taken her antibiotics. Menachem provided oxygen and took her vital signs as he waited for an ambulance.
Immediately thereafter, he was notified of another emergency and rushed over to the scene. The strong winds had uprooted a tree lining the sidewalk just as a 60-year-old pedestrian passed by. Fortunately, the trunk missed hitting the man but Menachem found the victim trapped and injured under a mass of heavy branches. Working together with additional medics and firefighters, he extricated the man, got him onto a backboard and rushed him into the ambulance for transport to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.
“These are just a few examples from one day. There are many other stories from other emergencies that I have responded to,” Menachem said. “For me, it is a pleasure to break up the routine at work and rush out to emergencies to help people in the middle of the day. I enjoy it for two reasons. First, it allows me to help others when they need it the most. Second, there is a strong rush of adrenaline every time my bluebird communication device goes off and lets me know that there is another emergency. Rushing out to help others is in my blood and I am proud to be a part of an organization that is filled with volunteers who drop everything and rush out to help others. It is a brotherhood of life-saving and I am proud to be a part of it.”