Geulah Pollak has been a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT for the past 4 years. She has previous experience as a first responder but took hiatus for about 10 years prior to joining United Hatzalah due to a mild injury. “I always wanted t get back into the field and become a first responder once again so that I could help others,” the veteran EMT said. “Once I was able to get back into it I joined United Hatzalah, and I am thankful that I did because I have saved numerous lives as a result, one of them was my own husband.”
The incident with Geulahs husband occurred in their family home in Kiryat Ata a number of months back when he was working in the yard. “My husband is in his early 60s and suffers from diabetes,” Geulah recounted the story. “I was sitting inside when all of a sudden, my son came over to me and told me that something was wrong with Dad. I rushed over and saw my husband sitting on the swing pale and grey. I immediately knew he was having a heart attack. I grabbed my medical kit and gave him his medication and called dispatch asking them to send an ambulance as I began to treat my own husband. A United Hatzalah volunteer arrived very quickly as did a mobile intensive care ambulance.”
The story continued when Geulah’s husband sustained a full cardiac arrest in the hospital two days later. “He was under observation and his heart gave out. They took him to surgery and put in a stent. The fact that we caught the incident early before the cardiac arrest occurred likely saved his life,” Geulah said.
“It’s not easy to treat someone who is close to you. Usually, when we respond to emergencies we put up an emotional block between ourselves and the patients so that we can do our jobs and give them the care that they need without reacting emotionally. But in this instance, the patient was my own husband. I don’t wish this experience on anyone. While I forced myself to keep reacting and keep doing what needed to get done to save him I had to continuously review the protocol in my head to make sure I was doing things correctly. Thankfully I succeeded because he returned home to us a week after he received the stent and is still with me today.”
Geula was surprised to find out that before her son had found her husband n the swing, he had actually collapsed and was completely unconscious for a few minutes. “While my husband was at the hospital, I looked through the footage from our security camera in the garden, which happened to catch the incident. While watching the footage I saw my husband collapse on the ground and lay there for a few minutes, unconscious, before he was able to get up and sit on the swing. To see my husband in this situation was not easy. My diagnosis of him was what enabled me to call for help and save his life. My experience as a trained EMT and ambulance driver is what saved him. It really brought home for me the message that one of the most important jobs of an EMT is to identify a dangerous situation as early as possible, even before it develops into a full-blown medical emergency.”
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