Yossi Kurt is a sixth-grade teacher in Kiryat Atta, the town where he lives together with his family. Kurt recently attended a funeral of a fellow teacher in the school when a man in the crowd, a relative of the deceased suddenly collapsed during the procession.
As frantic screams for help rang out, Kurt, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, dashed to his ambucycle parked just meters away. He rushed over to the man, took out his medical kit and began to treat him. Kurt checked for a pulse and finding none, the experienced medic immediately launched into CPR, mere seconds after the cardiac arrest had occurred.
There in the cemetery among the crowd of mourners, Yossi hooked up the defibrillator pads to the man’s bare chest and then single handedly performed intense chest compressions. The machine advised a shock, Kurt stood back and pushed the flashing button. The man’s body jerked as electricity coursed through him. Kurt resumed the rigorous CPR with the help of other medics who had just arrived and began systematic ventilations.
After a few minutes of CPR, the man’s pulse returned. The medics worked to stabilize his condition and by the time the ambulance arrived, the man was even breathing on his own.
The battle for life in the cemetery had been short and successful, thanks to Kurt’s immediate on-site treatment with the equipment from his ambucycle, which he always keeps nearby.
“When these incidents occur you don’t think, you simply respond. You follow your protocols and let your training take over,” Kurt said. “I was very happy that we were able to revive this man and save his life. Having two funerals of family members on the same day would have been a tragedy to immense for everyone there. I am happy that I was able to be there and provide assistance. That is what volunteering with United Hatzalah is all about.”
Upon hearing about the incident, the Founder and President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said, “Yossi’s immediate response saved this man’s life. That is why we built United Hatzalah, to provide emergency medical response from within the community in an effort to save everyone who can be saved. I don’t want there to be a single person who dies because EMS response wasn’t fast enough. My goal for United Hatzalah is to have a responder on every street corner throughout Israel so that no one will ever have to wait for EMS responders to arrive. We want to be able to respond to every emergency within 90 seconds and we are getting there, one volunteer hero, like Yossi, at a time.”