On Monday afternoon, just after 11 a.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Tova Shtiglitz was finishing up a shift at the local Corona hotel in Ofakim when she was suddenly alerted to a nearby medical emergency. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center located Tova a three-minute drive away from the location of the emergency. A 70-year-old woman had collapsed in a cemetery and witnesses called for help.
Tova quickly decontaminated herself properly and jumped in her car. Arriving alongside volunteer EMT Avraham Sabag, the two attempted to enter the cemetery from the main entrance which was blocked and filled with people. The two local EMTs walked around the gate to a second entrance near the back and entered the cemetery on foot.
Together, Tova and Avraham searched the cemetery for the patient. After a minute of searching they were joined by another two United Hatzalah EMTs volunteers just as they located their patient. The unconscious woman lay on the ground next to a tombstone.
Tova checked the woman’s vital signs and found that she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. The four EMTs launched into CPR. They laid the woman on the ground and initiated chest compressions as Avraham quickly pulled the defibrillator out of his bag. Tova was doing compressions first as one of the other EMTs positioned the patient’s head to open her airway and the third set up the bag-valve-mask (BVM) to administer assisted ventilations.
After several minutes and numerous rotations of CPR on the unconscious woman, the team requested ALS backup. The team was notified that the mobile intensive care ambulance was located half an hour away. The four continued performing CPR, attempting to stabilize the woman’s condition.
After twenty minutes, a local paramedic arrived at the scene and joined the CPR efforts. Ten minutes after that, just as the mobile intensive care ambulance (MICU) arrived, the woman’s pulse returned and she was showing positive vital signs. After a few minutes of additional care and assisted ventilation the 70-year-old woman’s condition stabilized and she was put on the MICU and taken to the nearest hospital for further observation.
“Walking out of a cemetery after bringing someone back to life is almost unfathomable to me,” said Tova. “The CPR was long and we were all so hot, but we still pushed forward and did what we could to return the woman’s pulse. As we washed our hands on the way out I was overcome with joy. The team I was surrounded by is the team that helped revive this woman. I am so grateful to be part of such an amazing miracle.”
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