On Tuesday just before 2:00 P.M., a newborn baby lost consciousness in a mall in Herzliya. Her panicked mother called emergency services for help.
Volunteer EMT Yosef Akler was in his office not far from the location of the emergency when he was alerted by United Hatzalah’s Command and Dispatch Center. He immediately went down to his ambucycle and zipped over to the shopping center, arriving at the scene within mere minutes together with another first responder who was in the area. Yosef grabbed his medical kit and raced inside together with the second volunteer who did not have any medical equipment with them.
Amid the commotion that had formed at the scene as passersby offered the terrified mother help, the pair of EMTs checked the vitals of the 3-week-old girl and found her to be breathless and with no pulse. While the second EMT initiated chest compressions using only two fingers, Yosef grabbed the defibrillator from his medical kit and attached the pediatric pads to the infant’s front and back. The defibrillator did not recommend administering any shock, and Yosef took over performing compressions.
“We asked the mother if the baby was known to have been born with any heart defect and she answered in the negative,” Yosef recounted after the incident. “Talking to her I saw that she was understandably in a state of great shock and anxiety. Accordingly, I called the dispatch center to request that volunteers from the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit be sent to the scene.”
The pair continued their efforts, administering oxygen by attaching Yosef’s bag valve mask to provide the child with assisted ventilation. They rotated performing chest compressions every two minutes to avoid fatigue until a few minutes later more help arrived in the form of an intensive care ambulance crew. The ambulance team joined in the lifesaving efforts begun by Yosef and his colleague and approximately half an hour after Yosef had arrived at the scene, the team’s efforts finally paid off. The baby girl’s pulse suddenly returned and she was stabilized before being whisked off to the nearest hospital for further treatment.
“I was told after the fact that doctors at the hospital had found a defect in the child’s heart which had caused heart failure,” Yosef explained. “I cannot imagine what would have happened to this precious child if I had not arrived early with my medical kit. Events like this make me proud to volunteer for an organization like United Hatzalah, which allows me to save lives by providing me with the necessary equipment and training.”
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