Beating The Angel of Death

This past Rosh Hashanah, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs David Badar and Sason Dabul were in Kfar Saba when they received an emergency alert from their communications device, notifying them of a medical emergency taking place nearby. David recognized the address and zipped through the small streets.

From left – Ran Vaizman, Tamar Greenberg Ben-Ari, the patient, David Badar, Sason Dabul, and chapter head Ofer Levin

The pair of EMTs arrived at the given location, an apartment building, in just under a minute. David grabbed a defibrillator and rushed up to the fifth floor of the building, while Sason gathered the medical kit from the ambulance. When David entered the apartment first, he found a grown man on the floor, unconscious and pulseless, with a worried family circling him, attempting chest compressions. David immediately identified himself as a United Hatzalah EMT and got to work.

David attached the defibrillator and continued CPR. During the rounds of compressions, the defibrillator advised 3 shocks. Sason arrived with an IV line. As David continued with chest compressions, the 60-year-old man’s pulse fluctuated, returning and then going asystole again for numerous minutes. David and Sasson refused to give up. A few minutes later, fellow United Hatzalah EMT and ambucycle rider Ran Vaizman arrived on the scene and helped the pair of EMTs by alternating turns performing assisted breathing and compressions.

15 minutes later, an ambulance team arrived and joined in the effort. The team of first responders assisted the ambulance crew with transporting the man down the five flights of stairs, and into the ambulance to transport the man to the nearest hospital. The man was brought to the hospital still unconscious, but with a pulse and regular blood pressure. After the incident, David had to take two days off of work to recover from the intense CPR that he performed on the man that caused him severe back pains.

Another United Hatzalah volunteer, Tamar Greenbaum Ben-Ari, was working at the hospital that the 60-year-old patient was taken to. Tamar stayed in contact with David, updating him on the man’s condition. Thankfully, the man made a full recovery, and right before he was released from the hospital, David and Sason came to visit him.

“Seeing the patient once again alive and getting ready to go home was very emotional,” Sason commented. “It was even more emotional for me than the other emergency that I responded to that day where I assisted a woman in delivering a new baby. Seeing him fully recovered, was far more moving for me. The first time I saw him he was unconscious and so close to death. Now, he is recovered and has a big smile on his face. Knowing that I was a part of that miracle, well it changes one’s perspective on a lot of things. The doctors told David and me that if the patient were brought in any later, he wouldn’t be here today. That sentence lives with me now. I have the power to save someone’s life, and it is a gift I cherish greatly.”

Yesterday, all four EMTs who were involved in saving this man’s life were invited to his home for a meaningful reunion. The family thanked the volunteers and United Hatzalah for saving the life of their father and husband. The volunteers told the man and his family about what United Hatzalah does, its values and purpose, but little explanation was necessary as the man was living proof of why the organization exists.

“When I was performing CPR on him, I felt his pulse returning and then fading over and over again. I felt that I was fighting with the angel of death,” David said. “Later, when the patient and I were joking around I told him that I had blown out my back during the CPR. He was apologetic and felt sorry, but I told him that some back pain was worth it if it meant having him here with us today, alive.”

David concluded: “Meeting the man’s family felt like I was coming full-circle. Our story is simple. Donors from different places donate to save lives. They provide the funding that is necessary for the organization to purchase our ambucycles, ambulances, and medical equipment. We, the volunteers, then use these tools to respond to emergencies, help people in terrible pain, or suffering medical complications, and many times we even save someone’s life. Then the person whose life was saved thanks us and smiles. But the smiles and the thanks belong to more people than just us the responders. They belong to the donors who enabled us to do what we do just as much. We thank them for the opportunity to save a life.”

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