On Thursday morning, just after 9:00 a.m., a man in his 70s was eating breakfast at his home on Herzl Street in Rosh Ha’ayin when he suddenly choked on a piece of orange. His caretaker saw what had happened and called emergency services as he tried to get the man to cough up the food that was now blocking his airway.
United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center received the distress call and alerted the nearest first responders to the emergency. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Ilan Ma’uda, was waiting in line to pick up a package in the post office when he received the alert. He dashed out to his car and raced to the given address.
A second volunteer, Ido Asraf was at home cleaning for Pesach when he received the alert. He dropped his cleaning supplies, quickly rinsed his hands, and ran to his emergency electric bicycle which he quickly rode to the nearby address just two blocks away. He arrived just after Ilan walked in the door.
The pair of EMTs rushed to the man and found that he had lost consciousness and had no pulse. The caretaker had gotten the man down on the floor and Ilan quickly initiated chest compressions while Ido attached a defibrillator.
“We kept alternating, Ido and I, between performing chest compressions and assisted ventilation while trying to get the blockage out of the man’s airway,” Ilan recalled. “We were unable to get to the blockage, so we kept doing CPR hoping to keep the man’s blood flowing and prevent brain damage. A mobile intensive care ambulance joined us some 15 minutes later and one of the paramedics was able to remove the piece of orange that was blocking the man’s airway. Once that happened, we were able to regain his pulse.”
“It was a trying situation,” said Ido. “We knew what we had to do to secure the man’s airway, but we were unable to remove the blockage. The only thing keeping him alive during those moments was the compressions that we were performing. We bought him time until the piece of orange could be removed and his airway cleared. Thankfully that proved to be enough to save his life. I am happy that during this time of rebirth for our nation when families will once again be able to spend the holiday of Pesach together, that this man will be able to spend Pesach with his family as well, as he was given a new chance at life thanks to the quick intervention and assistance he received by all of the responders who were there.”
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