On Monday evening just after 9:00 p.m., an infant, just barely one-week-old choked and suffered severe aspiration in a small town in Gush Etzion. His mother screamed for help and a neighbor called emergency services. Within less than one minute a volunteer EMT who lived nearby was at the home of the stricken child and began resuscitative efforts on the child.
The EMT, Ariel Drai, began finger compressions on the newborn as well as measured back blows and succeeded in getting the newborn to spit up a large amount of fluid. A minute passed and two other volunteer EMTs from United Hatzalah, Moshe Oraf, and Boaz Rosenblum, rushed into the home. Boaz pulled out suction equipment which was hastily connected and applied to the newborn. This too succeeded in removing a fair amount of liquid from the baby’s airway. After a few more back blows, the baby began to scream. The mother who was on the edge of fainting cried tears of joy at hearing the sound that was so welcome.
Ariel spoke about the dramatic rescue: “This rescue has special meaning for me as just last week I received an emergency alert about a woman in labor and I rushed over to the same home to help deliver this baby. He was already crowning by the time I arrived and I was able to assist in the delivery together with another EMT Ira Kotchrenko. To come a week later and save the same baby I helped deliver is a truly amazing feeling.”
Drai has even more history helping this particular family as two years earlier he helped deliver the baby’s older sister who was also born at home. “In the birth two years ago, I was there by myself for a few minutes assisting the mother in the delivery before additional forces were able to arrive. I am happy that both children are healthy now,” said Drai after rescuing the week-old infant on Monday.
The drama didn’t end with the successful resuscitation though. Drai stayed with the mother and son until an ambulance was able to arrive. Once it did he helped load the patients on board to be transported to the hospital. However, once the patients were safely loaded and the doors were closed, the ambulance began to make a U-turn and got stuck in the ditch on the side of the road after falling a few feet. Drai, who was still on scene, and volunteers as part of the roadside assistance volunteer organization known as Yedidim, called some of his fellow volunteers with heavy equipment and 4×4 jeeps to come and tow the ambulance out of the ditch and get it back on the road. He assisted in the extrication of the ambulance and then accompanied them on his ambucycle out of the town and stayed with them until they were safely on the Highway headed towards the hospital in Yerushalayim.
“I put to use the knowledge I gained both from United Hatzalah and Yedidim to help last night. It was a bit harrowing to watch the ambulance get stuck with the mother and newborn inside. They had been through enough and we worked tirelessly to get the ambulance out of the ditch as fast as we could in order to get them on their way to the hospital. It took us about 20 minutes until we finally extricated them. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes before the family was on their way. It was a night that I don’t think I will forget anytime soon. God has a way of making sure that the right person is in the right place in order to help when disaster strikes. All you have to do is do what you can. I am blessed that I am able to help a lot and whenever I can I do whatever I can.”
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