One morning a couple of weeks ago, United Hatzalah volunteer Netanel Samich received an emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center that someone was convulsing in the street. Samich rushed to his ambucycle and raced to the location, arriving in under one minute.
A 15-year-old boy was sprawled on the sidewalk, his entire body jerking with his intense seizures. He was frothing wildly at the mouth, and the experienced medic immediately realized that the boy was in imminent danger of choking to death. Moving quickly, Netanel grasped the boy and suctioned his airway, clearing the fluids that were blocking his throat. He tilted the boy’s head to ensure maximum access to oxygen and protected him from hitting his head as the violent convulsions continued. A small group of concerned spectators had gathered and Netanel asked one of them to keep track of the length of the seizures for future assessment.
After almost 4 minutes, the boy’s body finally relaxed. Netanel took the boy’s vital signs, seeking to determine the cause of the sudden attack. He was concerned to discover that the teen’s blood sugar level was at a dangerously low 35 mg/dL! Such extreme hypoglycemia can quickly lead to death and Netanel immediately administered GlucoGel, smearing it under the boy’s tongue and inside his cheeks.
The boy remained in serious condition and Netanel administered a further 4 doses of GlucoGel, bringing the boy’s blood sugar level up to nearly 80 mg/dL. He was close to relapsing in convulsions, and Netanel also set up an IV line for fluid provision. Eventually, almost half an hour later, the ambulance arrived and the boy was immediately transferred inside for transport to the hospital.
The boy’s family later tracked Netanel down and made contact with him. Netanel went to the home, where the grateful family expressed their deep appreciation. The boy, who had been discharged from the hospital with no long-lasting effects, hugged Netanel emotionally. It was hard to believe that this healthy 15-year-old would have likely lost his life if not for Netanel’s rapid, expert intervention.
Following the incident, President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “It is because of volunteers like Netanel that so many people are alive today. Netanel is a loving father, a kind neighbor, and a hero. This young boy would not be alive if it wasn’t for Netanel’s selfless act to leave whatever he was in the middle of and rush out to save his life. Not all the calls that our volunteers get are lifesaving, the majority have to do with helping sick or injured people and are not life-threatening. But it is the kind acts of volunteers just like Netanel that make Israel the type of place where I feel safe raising my own children, because I know that there are thousands of people, just like Netanel all over this country.”