On Sunday night in Beitar Illit, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shlomo Caap was in the local synagogue attending a lecture when his communications device alerted him to a nearby medical emergency. A block away, right across from Shlomo’s apartment building, a 60-year-old man with no severe medical background suddenly collapsed in his apartment. A family member quickly called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center as the man’s son-.in-law began attempting chest compressions with the guidance of the dispatcher on the line.
Shlomo quickly left his lecture and ran up a block with his vest and medical bag in hand, as well as his newly assigned defibrillator which he had received just a few weeks earlier. Upon his arrival, Shlomo informed Dispatch that he had arrived. He had made it to the scene in under a minute. As he walked into the apartment, Shlomo found the unconscious man lying on the ground with the son-in-law attempting chest compressions. The family was instantly relieved as Shlomo arrived at the scene, knowing that their neighbor is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT.
As Shlomo took over chest compressions two additional United Hatzalah EMTs arrived at the scene, allowing Shlomo to switch from chest compressions to attaching the defibrillator in his medical bag. The defibrillator advised a shock and Shlomo delivered the first shock, excited to use his defibrillator for the first time.
The EMTs on scene continued with compressions and assisted ventilation and after a second shock, additional EMTs and a mobile intensive care ambulance crew arrived at the scene. After close to 15 minutes of CPR, the 60-year-old’s pulse returned, and he even began breathing on his own. With the instructions of the paramedic who had arrived, the team stopped CPR and sat the man upward, allowing him to breathe more easily.
The man slowly began to regain consciousness and after a few minutes was able to answer the paramedic’s questions. Once he was stable enough for transport, the man was taken to the nearest hospital, and Shlomo packed up his defibrillator and medical kit and walked home.
“As I unpacked my defibrillator, I couldn’t help but think of the national tragedy in Meron,” said Shlomo. “As an EMT, as an organization, we are all still recovering from what has happened. It felt like a second chance for me, a chance to do what I couldn’t do that night. Despite it being a source of grief, I channeled that energy into saving my neighbor’s life with my defibrillator, and I am so glad I was able to save his life.”
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