Last Sunday afternoon, a 92-year-old woman was riding the bus in Ramat Gan when it suddenly jolted to a stop, sending her crashing to the floor. Witnesses called emergency services for help as it appeared that the woman was badly injured.
Aharon Klein was on an ambulance shift in Bnei Brak when the call came in as a motor vehicle accident. He immediately changed directions and rushed to the location of the emergency. “When I arrived at the spot where I was told by the dispatcher that the accident occurred, I didn’t see an accident. I was expecting two vehicles to have collided. I noticed that the bus was stopped by the side of the road at its stop and that it hadn’t moved for a long time. From previous experience, I recognized that this was indicative of the accident having involved the bus.”
Klein grabbed the medical kit from the ambulance and rushed on to the bus where he saw the elderly woman lying on the floor in considerable pain. She was unable to move and her foot was twisted in a strange position. “I immediately thought that the woman had suffered a broken pelvis and femur due to the position that her body was in.”
Klein stabilized the victim as much as possible, tying her tightly onto the backboard from the ambulance that was brought onto the bus by the other volunteer responders who had arrived at the scene. “I made sure that she wasn’t moved at all until she was tied very tightly to the backboard, thus stabilizing her position and preventing any further injury or pain,” Klein said.
Klein, together with the other volunteers loaded her onboard the United Hatzalah ambulance and reassured the woman, whose name he had learned was Gila, that all of United Hatzalah’s medical services including transport are provided at no cost. Klein called ahead to Tel Hashomer hospital notifying them that he was coming and that they should ready an orthopedist.
When he arrived at the hospital, Klein used his knowledge of the ER to get Gila the proper care in the shortest time possible. He saw her through the procedural aspects of the ER and into the x-ray room. He then waited with her until the orthopedic doctor arrived and pronounced Klein’s assessment as being correct. The woman had suffered a broken Femur and pelvis.
The care that Klein showed for his patient in making sure that she received the best care both prior to being admitted to the hospital and during her stay did not go unnoticed. Klein continued to visit Gila after the accident and during her recovery period. During that time she told him that she had never seen care like that provided by United Hatzalah volunteers and by Klein specifically.
She continued to tell Klein that she was a holocaust survivor, who had bounced around Europe for many years after the war before she finally immigrated to Israel in the 70s. She also told Klein that she was a doctor and became the head of a medical division in Abarbanel Mental Health Hospital.
“I know my way around ER rooms, and I know Yiddish, the language you were speaking to your fellow first responders,” Gila told Klein. “So I know exactly how hard you pushed that I get seen right away and I know the extra steps you did for me. I want to tell you, that when I leave this hospital, I am going to donate an ambulance to your organization. That is how much you have inspired me with your kindness.”
A shocked Klein thanked her for her generosity and she thanked him for his. But the story didn’t end there. Klein visited her again on Shabbat, and coming from Bnei Brak bought her challot from the Viznitz bakery. When Gila saw the challot she burst into tears. “The last time I had these challot was years ago. They were so special to me because they remind me of my mother’s challot from before the war. Every week I mean to go and get them but it never works out. I can’t believe that you brought these to me now,” she told Klein.
Within hours of Gila’s arrival at Tel Hashomer Hospital, she had received surgery to fix her broken bones thanks to Klein’s intervention. She was released a week and a half after being admitted and she was sent to a rehabilitation facility so that she could regain proper use of her legs. “We are friends now, Gila and I,” Klein added. “I’ve visited her almost every day of her hospital stay and we are planning to stay in touch. She is a very special woman and deserves all the respect and care that we can give her.”