Jeremie Korchia, a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah, was working from his home in Holon last Thursday afternoon when he was alerted to a man suffering from a case of severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low-blood sugar) in his neighborhood. He jumped onto his ambucycle, and drove to the scene of the incident located a few blocks away, arriving in mere minutes.
Upon arriving at the location of the emergency, he was urgently welcomed into the apartment by two panicked women who sobbingly directed Jeremy to the room where the man was located. There he found the 60-year-old patient on the floor, yelling incoherently and giving kicks in every direction. The man’s wife explained that he was diabetic and that his mental state had been deteriorating for a week. He had stopped eating since yesterday and now his behavior had suddenly taken a turn for the worse.
Jeremie, also a member of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma & Crisis Response Unit, was used to dealing with such situations and first said a few words to calm the women down. He then approached the man and quickly observed that he had all the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Jeremie slowly gained the man’s trust with his gentle demeanor and calming words until he was able to prick him to test his blood sugar levels, which stood dangerously low at 30 mg/dL.
The EMT proceeded to administer glucose to the man’s mouth in order to increase his blood sugar levels, which caused the patient’s behavior and mental state to improve progressively. A second test confirmed it had successfully risen back to 85mg/dL. As Jeremie was hearing the ambulance’s siren in the distance he made sure to speak with the man as well as with his wife and daughter in order to keep them calm. The volunteer checked the man’s blood pressure and made sure he hadn’t gotten injured as a result of his erratic behavior. After over 20 minutes the intensive care ambulance finally arrived at the scene. Jeremie briefed the ambulance crew, which proceeded to evacuate the man to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
After the incident Jeremie reflected and said: “It’s always rewarding to be able to respond rapidly to an emergency and provide the patient with the appropriate treatment, especially when the ambulance takes time to arrive as was the case here. It truly makes you feel like you made a difference and helped someone, and this is what United Hatzalah is all about. In incidents such as this one, the most challenging part is often calming the family down and gaining the patient’s trust. I’m glad I was successful in doing that.”