Climbing a Ladder to Save a Life

One recent morning at 8:00 AM, Dan Dikanoff, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT from Givat Shmuel, was driving in the freeway fast lane when he was suddenly alerted to a serious work accident in the vicinity. Despite being on the way to meet a client, the dedicated volunteer flicked on his red lights and siren and darted to the nearest exit. Upon exiting the fast lane, Dan hit the infamous Tel Aviv rush hour traffic. Fortunately for the injured victim, Dan was riding his ambucycle, enabling him to glide right past the heavy congestion. Within mere minutes, Dan had reached the waste recycling plant where the accident had taken place.

The scene of the rescue

As plant employees brought Dan to the injured victim, they explained that their co-worker fell into a refuse mixer and his foot got caught in the large machine. To reach the injured man, the steadfast medic needed to climb up a steep metal ladder and then down into the machine. The victim, in sheer agony, told Dan that he could not feel his foot. The medic assured the 30- year-old man that he would do everything possible to help him. One look at the situation told the veteran medic that this was not a simple rescue operation. Dan quickly requested a special extrication unit from United Hatzalah dispatch, took the man’s vital signs and encouraged him as best as possible under the circumstances.

 

Another United Hatzalah ambucycle driver arrived, followed by the special unit and an intensive care ambulance sometime later. Dan assisted the paramedic to open an IV line and administer pain relief drugs. It was decided that the only way to free the man was to cut away the machine using a blow torch.  During the 30-minute complex operation, Dan was by the man’s side, monitoring his condition and providing critical emotional support to the traumatized victim.  When the man was finally freed, Dan together with the other EMS personnel swiftly bandaged the severely damaged foot before the man was whisked away to the nearest trauma center.

 

Dan continued on to his meeting and was about 45 minutes late with his clothes stained with garbage residue. Dan’s tardiness, appearance, and smell may have initially put off his client, but after hearing the story, the man was quite proud to have Dan as his insurance agent.

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