On Sunday morning, a man in his 90s was eating breakfast at his home on Har Adir Street in Tzefat (Safed) when he suddenly choked on his food, lost consciousness, and collapsed. Worried family members called emergency services for help.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Yechiel Roshetzky and Elchanan Cohen, were both at their respective homes, each a few blocks away from the incident. Yechiel had just finished breakfast and was about to head out for work, which today would take him to Netanya when he received the alert. He quickly changed focus and rushed out to respond to the emergency, as did Elchanan.
Yechiel got in his car and drove the one block to the emergency, while Elchanan, who had just finished dropping off his children at school, rushed over on his ambucycle and arrived at the same time as Yechiel in spite of living further away. The pair of volunteers found the man lying near his table with his meal unfinished. They immediately began CPR, attaching a defibrillator and initiating chest compressions. After a few moments, additional volunteers from United Hatzalah arrived and joined in the CPR effort, attaching an oxygen tank and non-rebreather mask in order to administer assisted ventilation.
For 30 minutes the team of volunteers performed basic life support CPR waiting for the mobile intensive care ambulance to arrive. When the mobile intensive care ambulance finally arrived the paramedic and driver joined the rescue effort, administering medications and fluids. After an additional 15 minutes, the paramedic was preparing to call off the effort. Just then Roshetzky, who was administering ventilation at the time, checked the man’s pulse and was happily surprised to find one.
“I immediately informed the paramedic, who had stepped outside to call for a medical consult, and we were all overjoyed that the man’s pulse returned. There were no shocks given during the entire effort, and intubation had been difficult due to the blockage in the man’s throat, but we persevered and the man’s pulse was steady and strong. 48 minutes after I initiated CPR with Elchanan, the man regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital.”
Due to the ambulance being short-staffed Elchanan joined the ambulance team during patient transport to the hospital. “During the trip to Ziv Hospital, the patient crashed and his pulse was lost,” Elchanan recounted. “I performed compressions in the ambulance and we brought his pulse back once again. When we finally arrived at the hospital, we transferred the patient to the doctors in the trauma center with a pulse and they took over the treatment and effort to save the man’s life. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be on the side that gives help today, and I hope to keep doing that whenever I can.”
“It was uplifting for me to start my day by helping save someone’s life and doing a successful CPR. So I was delayed an hour starting my drive to work in Netanya, that isn’t a big deal. The important thing is that this man has another chance at life and I am proud to have been a part of that. Without us being there, the man would have waited for 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and would have had no chance at survival, thankfully we were there and we saved his life. I wish him many more happy years.”
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