By: Deena Horenstein
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Osnat Reuven, willingly devoted her time over the past couple of months to provide humanitarian assistance on top of her regular EMS duties. Already by Purim, just at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel, she and her son went around delivering mishloach manot (food packages) to elderly citizens. “Exposing my son to so much compassion towards the elderly, having him see someone else’s needs and the joy in someone else’s eyes upon being the recipient of a kind act, helped him recognize what is truly important in life. By giving to others he learned how to appreciate all that he has in his life,” said Osnat.
Osnat and her son continued their efforts throughout the Corona pandemic over the next month, delivering food and medicines as needed, and as the holiday of Passover approached the mother-and-son-team worked extensively to prepare and distribute food for those unable to leave their homes due to the threat of the virus and lockdown protocols.
Osnat’s son told her how much he appreciated being a part of this humanitarian initiative. “I feel so much satisfaction in helping others. I don’t feel like just another average kid anymore. I gave of myself to the community and I did something good.”
As a volunteer EMT, Osnat continued responding to medical emergencies whenever they occurred in her vicinity. A few weeks ago, at 2:30 in the morning, a woman was experiencing severe chest pain and difficulty breathing. Being one of the closest responders, Osnat received the emergency alert and without hesitation jumped out of bed, drove to the scene, and was the first to arrive. Osnat ran to the woman and after assessing the situation determined that all signs pointed to this woman was suffering from a heart attack.
Osnat immediately administered aspirin and oxygen, and the woman’s condition stabilized. She continued her ministrations and comforted the distraught patient as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Once the ambulance team was on location the paramedic performed an EKG test and confirmed that the woman had indeed suffered a cardiac incident.
The woman needed to go to the hospital and fast. But, she became agitated as the ambulance team began to prepare her for transport. The woman explained that her husband had passed away six months ago and if she went to the hospital there would be no one to watch her child who was sleeping in the other room.
Without missing a beat, Osnat assured her that she would stay with the child, giving the mother her number and comforting her that she could call her whenever she wanted. The mother gratefully accepted Osnat’s offer and went with the ambulance team to the hospital. Osnat removed her orange vest and hid her medic bag, so as not to alarm the child in the event that he woke up. She sat on the couch and kept the mother updated every hour until 5:00 a.m. when a family member, who had come from a distant city, was finally able to arrive at the home and care for the sleeping boy.
“United Hatzalah is a family. We all treat each other like we are at home with one another. I feel appreciated for everything I do. We all have mutual respect towards one another that stems from a mutual responsibility. I love being a part of this organization. All of the volunteers care for each other, support each other, and are to help each other with whatever is needed. Being a volunteer with the organization has given me the opportunity to give to others and that brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I feel truly blessed that I was able to recently share this with my son during the Corona pandemic. As a teacher and a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to set a strong example of volunteering and helping others in the hopes that they too will emulate these qualities. United Hatzalah helps me to be the best role model that I can be for my children, students, and community.”
Osnat will soon be putting her teaching skills to work in the organization as well as she is currently training to become an EMS instructor. She hopes to train many future generations of volunteer EMS responders enabling them to save many more lives.
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