On Monday around noon, a 62-year-old man choked on a boureka that he was eating in a nursing home in Kiryat Ata. The choking senior was brought to the attention of the surrounding medical personnel who immediately started to try to extricate the food blocking his airway. When they didn’t succeed, the nurses called emergency services for help. As the seconds ticked by, the man’s situation deteriorated and he seemingly began to suffer a seizure and lost consciousness. The nurses began CPR as they anxiously waited for help to arrive.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Baruch Frid is a recent addition to the United Hatzalah lifesaving team and is still in training. Baruch was pinpointed as one of the closest volunteers to the nursing home and was sent an alert on his communication device. He saw the alert and immediately dropped what he was doing and rushed out to help.
Asher Levi is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and has been volunteering with the organization for more than seven years. He was a few kilometers away from the assisted living center, and was in the middle of dealing with a client of his. When Asher received the same alert, he briefly explained what happened to his client and rushed out to his car and drove to the location in order to save the choking man.
Baruch and Asher arrived at the home together and rushed inside. Baruch took over performing chest compressions from the nurse as Asher opened his medical kit and connected a defibrillator. The team of two EMTs switched off in providing compressions and oxygen ventilation to the patient.
After around 15 minutes, the man’s condition still hadn’t improved but the EMTs kept working hard and would not give up hope. Additional United Hatzalah volunteers had arrived at the scene to help, as did a local ambulance team, and later on, an intensive care ambulance. The paramedic from the intensive care ambulance stepped in and began to remove as much food from the man’s throat as possible. She then inserted an intubation tube to allow proper oxygenation.
Baruch explained, “As soon as the patient sustained a stable pulse rate, the paramedic decided that it was time to rush him to the hospital and have the doctors there continue treatment. The patient was still unconscious and was not yet breathing independently, but there was only so much we could do at the scene. His pulse came back though, and that is a miracle in and of itself. We transferred him into the ambulance and he was brought to the nearest hospital where he will please G-d, recover soon.”
After the incident, Asher shared, “Thank G-d we were nearby and were able to arrive as soon as we did. The early intervention and resuscitation by the staff as well as our efforts were the main reasons for the success and will lead to this man’s life being saved. Most CPRs that I have been at have sadly ended unsuccessfully. I always try my best to provide treatment but it’s not in our control. At the end of the day, even those unsuccessful resuscitations are necessary for us because they keep everything in proportion, help us learn to be better, and help us appreciate life and helping others. It makes successful resuscitations like this one, all the more joyous, exciting, and impressive.”
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