By Devorah Klein
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Barak Shlush hails from the city of Netanya. Barak is a very active first responder and has participated in saving many lives over the course of the past two years. This of course would not be possible without the use of his ambucycle. However, Barak’s connection to his ambucycle is not defined just by the lives he saves, as the ambucycle that he drives was donated by his own family in honor of his grandfather.
After Barak’s grandfather passed away, his family decided to follow in his footsteps and pay forward the acts of kindness that his grandfather was known for. Barak, who was already a United Hatzalah EMT, suggested to his uncle Itzik that they start a campaign to raise money for a lifesaving ambucycle. The campaign was successful and the organization saw it fitting to give the ambucycle that was donated in his grandfather’s memory to Barak himself, so that he may carry on his grandfather’s legacy of selfless acts of lovingkindness. Whenever Barak responds to a medical emergency, he honors his grandfather’s memory, which gives Barak the strength to go save a stranger’s life even when the situation may be trying and difficult.
Two weeks ago, Barak received an alert to a medical emergency occurring nearby. Meir, a 31-year-old man, was waiting in line at the post office when he started feeling lightheaded and weak. The man ignored the feelings until it was his turn, and then he suddenly collapsed. Meir had been previously diagnosed with diabetes and suffered hypoglycemic shock. A condition in which one’s blood sugar suddenly drops to dangerously low levels. This condition can sometimes be fatal.
Barak arrived at the scene in under three minutes and found the unconscious man lying on the post office floor. After a quick check of the man’s vital signs, Barak gathered that Meir had indeed suffered from a severe case of hypoglycemia and his blood sugar level was dangerously low. Reaching into his medical bag, the EMT took out a tube of GlucoGel, a specially designed gel that raises blood glucose levels quickly, and applied it under the man’s tongue. 30 seconds later, Meir was returning to himself and regaining full consciousness.
“When I am out on the ambucycle, I feel that the work I do is an extension of the donation. We donated the vehicle, and now I’m riding it to help save people’s lives,” Barak commented. “Before we donated the ambucycle, I was using an E-bike to reach the locations of medical emergencies, now with the ambucycle, I can arrive in far less time and I know that I’m making a difference.”
A year ago, Barak’s uncle Itzik passed away, leaving behind a grieving family and community. Having helped Barak in the campaign for the donated ambucycle, Iztik’s memory will also be attached to the ambucycle and the acts of lovingkindness that it helps Barak perform.
“Whenever I respond to an emergency, I am reminded that I have two pillars of righteousness behind me. Both Itzik and my grandfather were men who performed acts of lovingkindness throughout their lives. I know that they are proud of me and the work I do. With them at my back, I know that I cannot fail.”
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