From Death To Life in 10 Minutes

On Monday night at 10:50 p.m. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shalom Belchamo from Kiryat Gat was at home cleaning his house for Pesach when he received an urgent alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center notifying him that he was the closest responder to a medical emergency occurring on Avnei Choshen Street a few blocks from his house.

A United Hatzalah volunteer on his ambucycle (illustration)

Shalom quickly dropped his scrub brushes, rinsed his hands, ran to his ambucycle parked outside, and rushed over to the given address. When he got there, the front door of the building was locked and he had to call the apartment to be allowed in. Once inside he raced up the stairs and found a man in his 50s collapsed on the floor and the man’s children, being guided by the dispatcher, performing chest compressions on their father.

 

“When I checked his vital signs, he had agonal breathing and a faint pulse. I began preparing my equipment, and just a moment later his pulse stopped. I resumed compressions. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived, together with additional United Hatzalah volunteers Hila Rinkoff and Shlomo Rothschild. The now expanded team attached a defibrillator which suggested shocking the patient. We administered the shock and continued with compressions and assisted breathing. A few minutes after the first shock the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and began administering medications. Three or four minutes after that the man revived.”

 

Belchamo said that the entire incident took less than 10 minutes. “I was shocked at how quickly things happened and that the man woke up completely. Even in cases of successful CPR, it usually takes a few days for the person to recover and regain consciousness. Being able to help save this man’s life, there is no feeling like it. Even if I did the entire CPR wearing a short covered in bleach, and even if I woke up at 4:30 a.m. that morning. The feeling that one gets when they know they have helped bring someone back from the brink of death and now this person has a new release on life, that feeling is worth everything.”

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