On Tuesday morning just after 8:00 A.M. in Beit Shemesh, a 14-year-old girl suffered respiratory distress, lost consciousness, and suffered a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, due to the quick intervention from first responders, she was successfully resuscitated.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Akiva Geldenawer was the first at the scene after he was alerted by dispatch about the medical emergency which took place at the girl’s school. He arrived on his ambucycle within mere minutes together with two other first responders.
“The girl collapsed at the entrance to her school which was built on a hill and is not accessible by car,” Akiva described after the incident. “Thankfully, my ambucycle allowed me to drive up the paths leading to the gate of the school and arrive there quickly. The 14-year-old girl was lying on the floor, pulseless and not breathing. One of the other EMTs started performing chest compressions while I took out my defibrillator from my medical bag and attached it to the girl’s chest. The defibrillator advised a shock, which was followed by one round of chest compressions, and a second shock, which was followed by another round of chest compressions.”
More first responders arrived at the scene to assist, including volunteer EMT Yoeli Steinberg. “Since there were many EMTs at the scene already, I helped with whatever was needed,” Yoni recounted after the incident. “I managed a lot of the logistics surrounding the CPR effort in order to save precious time for the EMTs who arrived before me. After a 10-minute long effort, the team was successful at restoring the young woman’s pulse and breathing. The emotion I felt was overwhelming, it was like waves in my entire body.”
A mobile intensive care ambulance later transported the girl to the hospital for further treatment.
Akiva later reflected on the incident and said: “I’ve been an EMT since I was 14 and it’s precisely for these moments that I volunteer. It’s a privilege to be an ‘emissary’ of lifesaving.”
Yoeli shared his own feelings and said: “Even though I wasn’t one of the first at the scene, I see every action, even small, performed at a scene of an emergency, as a contribution to the lifesaving effort. Recently I performed CPR on several patients who unfortunately did not survive so it was an extraordinarily moving experience for me to help save this young girl.”
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