Dan Shmuel heads the Tel Aviv branch of United Hatzalah, a volunteer EMS organization that provides all of its services free of charge to anyone who needs it, regardless of nationality, race, religion or gender.
Dan was injured in a serious motorcycle accident in 2000. After a long period of rehabilitation, he was able to walk again with the help of crutches. His disability does not prevent him from volunteering as an EMT with United Hatzalah and saving lives, and he continues to do so on a daily basis.
As private cars and ambulances take far too long to respond to a medical emergency in the city due to the traffic congestion, and as Dan can no longer ride a motorcycle, he gets to medical emergencies by utilizing a specialized electric car, called a mini-lance (mini-ambulance), that allows him to get through city-traffic quickly and efficiently due to its small size.
Last week, Dan was finishing his breakfast when United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center alerted him to a medical emergency that had just taken place nearby. A serious motor vehicle accident had just occurred on Nachum Gold Street in the heart of the city. Dan told the dispatcher that he was en route, and rushed out the door to his mini-lance parked right outside. He flicked on the lights and sirens and rushed over to the location of the accident.
Upon arrival just three minutes later, Dan found a motorcycle that had been run over by a bus. The motorcycle’s rider had been thrown through the air and landed on the side of the road. Moving the mini-lance strategically in front of the victim in order to create a safe environment and protect him from oncoming traffic, Dan moved quickly and helped immobilize the patient to a backboard, preparing him for medical transport. An ambulance arrived after several minutes and Dan with fellow United Hatzalah responders loaded the motorcyclist aboard for rapid evacuation to a nearby trauma center.
The speed with which Dan is able to arrive at accident sites, especially within Tel Aviv, a city plagued by traffic congestion, enables him to rapidly offer emergency care to the wounded.