My name is Avigail Beer and I am a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. I was recently headed to Sinai for a vacation with my friend Naomi Lasry, who is also a volunteer EMT when we received an alert to a medical emergency happening near our location.
The alert told us that a woman was in active labor right near the Ramon crater. I had never been to the Ramon crater before and we were in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. No cars or buses were on the road and everything was completely dark. I told the dispatcher that we were in the middle of the desert and he confirmed that we were close to the location. He helped direct us to an ATV that had been waiting by the highway for help to come. The driver led us on an off-road ride further into the middle of the desert. I thought my tires were going to pop riding over the dirt paths and rocks.
Finally, after another 7 minutes of off-road driving, we arrived at a tent. The place was completely dark. We turned on some flashlights in order to see and saw six children running around screaming “Mama. Mama. Come help our Mama.”
We ran over to where the children indicated their mother was and found her in the middle of giving birth. The baby’s head was already visible and in the crowning position. I told the mother that I was with her and that she should push. I had to do this in pantomime because, as she was a Bedouin woman, she didn’t speak any of the languages that I speak. She got the message and she pushed. After a few strong contractions, we heard the baby’s first cries. Just moments after we had arrived I was holding a new life in my hands.
I helped the mother get dressed and put her shoes on. There was no one else around at all. No electricity, no lights, no running water. Just her, the driver of the ATV and her children.
I’ve delivered a few babies now, and every time it fills me with excitement. It is challenging, highly emotional and extremely empowering. This time, however, was completely different due to the situation that we found ourselves in. Delivering a baby on the floor, in a tent, in the middle of the desert is an experience that I will never forget. In spite of the language barrier that we had, we felt like we were almost family because we were there to help this woman in her time of need.
For me, this experience really represented what it means to be a United Hatzalah volunteer. We aren’t simply EMTs who come assist a person and leave. We are empathic people, going about our daily lives and we rush out to help everyone we can. That help often goes beyond simply doing the medical procedures required of us. We put an emphasis on fulfilling all of the needs of the person in need of medical assistance.
In this instance, we saw one of the other children upset and crying after he saw and heard his mother in pain. We sat with the child and calmed him down and made sure that all of the others were cared for before we took our leave.
As an EMT I have come to know a lot of different people from different places and cultures. Every person I go-to treat is a world unto themselves and there is a lot to be learned from them. It has been an eye-opening experience and I think that volunteering as an EMT is the greatest thing that one can do. It allows me to help anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are, where they live and, what religion they believe in. It is simply the greatest thing one can do in this world.
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