Being There For Others In Their Time of Need – The Story Of A Pesach Rescue

On Thursday night (Erev Shvi’i Shel Pesach), Rabbi Shalom Zohar was at synagogue in Kfar Saba in the middle of evening prayers, when his United Hatzalah comm device started buzzing. A man from the neighborhood had collapsed suddenly at his home on Yoel Street; the man’s wife had discovered her 53-year-old husband unconscious and was now attempting CPR with guidance from emergency dispatch.

An ambucycle at night

With no time to lose, Shalom left his siddur behind, dashed outside to his ambucycle, and raced to the given address. Within less than three minutes, the United Hatzalah volunteer arrived on location, the first medical responder on the scene.

The patient’s daughter spotted Shalom approaching and quickly waved him over. Together they rushed up to the second floor, where the girl’s father was lying pulseless on the floor. Taking over resuscitation efforts, Shalom attached the defibrillator pads from his ambucycle’s AED and began administering chest compressions.

A trio of additional United Hatzalah EMTs, Ran Weitzman, Ayelet Rabinovitch, and Liran Aharon, arrived to assist Shalom with the rescue. Ran quickly attached a bag valve mask (BVM) to provide assisted ventilation, while Ayelet and Liran took over chest compressions. A minute later Shalom’s AED advised a shock which Shalom quickly delivered. Shortly thereafter the team provided an additional two shocks from the defibrillator.

A paramedic arrived together with a mobile intensive care ambulance and attached his heart monitor. Five additional shocks were provided on scene. The man had suffered a case of ventricular fibrillation and every moment counted. The decision was made to transport the man to the hospital while still undergoing CPR. The combined team secured the patient to a backboard so we could continue CPR while en route to the hospital, and then placed him on a gurney. The man was transferred outside and loaded into the awaiting emergency vehicle. Shalom hopped aboard and continued to provide CPR, as the paramedic and the driver screeched off to the nearest hospital.

Once on location at the medical center, Shalom assisted in rushing the patient inside with CPR in progress. Before they even made it into the hospital ward, the team of first responders managed to restore a steady pulse. They continued to provide assisted ventilation, stabilizing the man as they transferred their patient to awaiting medical staff.

“The nursing team quickly attached the man to an assisted breathing device. All told, CPR efforts had lasted over an hour,” Shalom related. “It all happened so suddenly – This man has two children at home and no history of cardiac incidents to speak of. I am deeply gratified to have had a small part in helping to save his life. I hope and pray for his full recovery and that we may always merit to be there for others in their times of need.”

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