From Learning Torah to Saving a Life

A little before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, a 97-year-old woman collapsed unconscious in her home on Bezalel Ashkenazi street in Jerusalem. Her caretaker called the United Hatzalah Dispatch and Command Center which promptly located and notified all the closest volunteer EMTs to the emergency.

Akiva (left) with Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer (right).

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Akiva Angel was learning in his Yeshiva on Beit Yisrael Street when he saw the urgent alert of the unconscious victim. He recognized the address as one that was fairly close to where he was and knew it would be fastest to travel there by foot. Akiva immediately grabbed his medical kit and ran the short distance to the home of the elderly woman.

Arriving in only one minute from the time he received the notification, the EMT hurriedly ran up the two flights of stairs to the open door of the apartment. The frantic daughter of the unconscious woman was waiting there and hurried him inside to where her mother lay on the floor next to the caretaker.

Akiva checked the woman’s vitals and found that she was not breathing nor showing any signs of a pulse, seemingly due to a cardiac arrest. He began compressions right away. Meanwhile, Akiva’s friend and United Hatzalah volunteer Mendel Ashkenazi was on his way to help, running from his Yeshiva on Shmuel Hanavi Street, a short distance away. He arrived a few minutes later and assisted Akiva in his CPR efforts.

When the Intensive Care Ambulance came soon afterward, the paramedic allowed the two EMTs to rest their tired arms from performing compressions because he was successful in finding a pulse. However, upon attaching a heart monitor to the patient, he realized he was mistaken. The woman had a weak and inconsistent pulse which still put her in a dangerous situation and they proceeded with the compressions and shocks when needed.

After about three minutes, a stable pulse was secured on the elderly woman and her breathing returned. Although she was still unconscious, Akiva, Mendel, and the ambulance team carefully transported her down the stairs and into the waiting ambulance. They sat her in the chair of the stair-lift and slowly descended while holding her in place until safely at the bottom. The patient was brought to the nearest hospital to be treated.

Subsequently, Akiva said, “I spend my afternoons learning in the Yeshiva, and almost every day I rush out to be of help to one or two emergencies nearby. Every time I’m called to an emergency where a revival is involved, I am struck with a sense of satisfaction and an overall great feeling when we succeed. Returning life to a person is truly incredible. Even if it’s an elderly person or only for a day or two, it is still impactful and meaningful for the patient, their family, and me, who has experienced such a miracle, thankfully numerous times.”

To support the lifesaving work of United Hatzalah volunteers like Akiva and Mendel, please click here:

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