Quick Intervention Prevents Catastrophe at Herzliya Health Club

Dina and Roni on their ambucycle

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Were You The Man Who Saved My Son’s Life?

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Levi Yitzchak Ben David, originally from Union City, New Jersey,  lives with his family in Tzefat. He works as a caterer and is often seen around the city rushing to help people suffering from medical emergencies. He has been one of the most active volunteers in the northern Israeli city for the past 15 years a volunteer.

the accident scene

Two weeks ago, Levi visited the gravesite of Benayahu Ben Yehoyada located in the neighboring village of Birya. Just as he was entering the compound, he spotted a young man with a disability being led into the site by his parents. The father asked Levi to grab a few prayer books from the car as he was supporting his son. A few minutes later, the mother discreetly approached Levi and asked him, “Is that your ambucycle outside? My son was in a serious car accident half-a-year-ago near the municipal soccer fields. His life was saved by a United Hatzalah volunteer. I’ve been looking to find the volunteer so that I can thank him.” 


Glancing again at the young man, Levi found himself going back in time to that early October afternoon. A motorcycle had been struck by a truck on a narrow windy descent, its two riders were thrown through the air before landing on the hard asphalt some 50 meters apart from one another. Levi had been nearby when United Hatzalah dispatchers alerted him to the harrowing accident. Without hesitation, he raced to the scene on his ambucycle, arriving alongside a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer EMT. 

Both of the motorcycle riders had sustained severe traumatic injuries to multiple systems in their bodies. Among their other injuries, both were suffering from blocked airways. The EMTs split up. Levi treated a young man who lay face down on the road and his colleague began treating a female rider who was moaning in pain. Levi asked a passerby to assist him in turning the victim over so he could provide treatment and hopefully get the young man breathing again. Placed on his back, the patient started to breathe on his own, although quite faintly. 


As additional volunteers arrived, Levi administered oxygen to stabilize the young man’s breathing, bandaged his wounds, and applied a neck brace for C-spine stabilization, he then took vitals and monitored the boy’s condition until an ambulance could arrive. 

the motorcycle

With the arrival of ambulances, the United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs assisted in loading the victims aboard the emergency vehicles which whisked them to nearby Ziv Medical Center for further treatment. Within minutes, the clamor of the accident scene had dissipated, and Levi was left to gather his equipment, uncertain of his patient’s fate.


Looking at the boy, Levi grasped how momentous his actions had been. “I remember,” Levi told the woman. “I got there on the very ambucycle that you see outside. I’m the medic who saved your son’s life.” Growing emotional, the woman called her son over to meet and thank his ‘Angel in Orange’. 


This young man’s second chance at life was due to the quick medical intervention that he received at the scene provided by Levi and the rest of the EMS teams, as well as the hospital staff who continued the treatment that Yitzchak began. “ill forever remember this story,” Levi said. “Part of being a first responder means that we drop whatever we are doing to rush out and save others. Rarely do we get to see the results of our work. I am thankful that I got the opportunity to do so today. The satisfaction the I received from meeting him goes beyond words. It fills me with such joy that I simply cannot explain it.” 


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The Near-Death Experience That Changed My Life

Six years ago Amnon Ben-Yair had a life-altering experience. Amnon nearly died after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was so inspired by the first responders who had arrived so quickly and saved his life that he was determined to do his part to help others. After recovering from his ordeal, Amnon decided that he would train to become a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He enrolled in the next training course available and studied for eight months to become an EMT. For the past three years, Amnon has been responding to calls whenever he can. His wife Liraz, who herself is a volunteer EMT with the organization’s women’s Unit, finished her training just before Amnon and also joined the organization, whose volunteers saved her husband’s life.

Amnon in front of his ambucycle

A few weeks ago, Amnon was alerted by United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center to a medical emergency that involved a factory worker who had lost his balance and slipped off of a ledge. The man had fallen headfirst onto the concrete floor several feet below. Immediately, Amnon flipped on the sirens of his ambucycle and dashed to the scene. The incident had taken place in the Atarot industrial zone, which was not too far away from Amnon’s location.

As Amnon arrived at the scene he met a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who also arrived to help assist with the rescue. The pair of volunteers grabbed their medical equipment and ran to the injured patient. Working together the EMTs administered oxygen and stabilized the patient’s neck and spine. A few minutes later, a United Hatzalah ambulance arrived and Amnon assisted in placing the patient on the stretcher and preparing him for transport to the nearest trauma center.

“Six years ago after I suffered from cardiac arrest I decided to become an EMT myself,” said Amnon. “I wanted to be able to help people as quickly as possible, the same way I needed help. Now I am taking an EMT trainer’s course with the hope that one day I will be able to train others to become EMTs so that they too will be able to save lives as well. I consider this to be a way to pay-it-forward and give to others the same gift that I myself received.”

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Leaving With A Feeling of Fulfilment

By Deena Hornstein 

Netanel Samoh is an incredibly giving individual. He is dedicated to his city and community in Be’er Sheva. He works at the Youth-at-Risk division of the Jewish Agency, does pet therapy with young children, and is a soccer referee for a local league which enables him to interact with the city’s youth in a friendly and fun environment. Netanel’s natural impulse to help others motivated him to take an EMT training course and he eventually became a United Hatzalah Volunteer and is now one of Be’er Sheva’s busiest EMTs.

Netanel on his bike

One of Netanels recent calls occurred in the early evening when a woman in Be’er Sheva called the dispatch center in a panic, saying that she was unable to revive her husband, and said that he had been asleep for nearly twenty-four hours. Netanel was at home with his family and was giving his kids a bath when he received the urgent alert from United Hatzalah’s dispatch center. Without wasting a moment, Netanel called his wife to watch their children and ran outside to his ambucycle. He rushed to the scene and arrived at the address in just 60 seconds.

Netanel hopped off his ambucycle, dashed inside, and discovered a 78-year-old diabetes patient lying in bed. The man was unresponsive. Netanel hastily took the patient’s vitals and confirmed that the patient’s blood glucose levels had dropped to dangerously low levels. Without hesitating Netanel quickly administered glucogel and reassured the patient’s wife as he continued to monitor her husband’s vitals.

The elderly man slowly started responding to the treatment and kept slipping in and out of consciousness. By the time the ambulance crew had arrived, the elderly man had regained full consciousness and his blood sugar levels had been stabilized. Netanel helped carry him onto the ambulance and the man was transported to the hospital for further observation and care.

“After leaving the elderly couple’s house I left with a feeling of fulfillment,” said Netanel. “The patient’s life was solely in my hands. Thanks to the training I had received and the equipment I had with me, I was able to save his life. Knowing that I helped save another person is a truly great feeling”

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Preparing To Meet With A New Client – But Saving a Life Instead

On Monday, at 3:58 PM, Tom Eisenman​, who works as the Director of Business Development for Cause Match Israel, was sitting in the company’s Jerusalem office. He was preparing for a 4 PM Zoom meeting with a new prospective client in the U.K. The office is located on Agrippas Street, a busy thoroughfare that serves as one of the main roads for public transportation through the downtown corridor. 

All of sudden, Tom heard a horrible cry from the street below. He peeked out the window and saw a 5-year-old boy had been run over by a bus.


Tom who volunteers as a United Hatzalah EMT, immediately sprung into action. He grabbed Moshe Schieber​, a Cause Match Israel salesman who is also a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, and together they rushed out to help the boy. 


Within 20 seconds, Moshe and Tom were on the scene. As Moshe started to administer first aid on the boy’s injured leg, Tom ran down the block to his parked car and grabbed his medical kit. 

Tom, running the entire way in both directions, quickly returned with the kit, and pulled out a number of personal bandages. The pair of EMTs staunched the bleeding and wrapped the boy’s leg as other volunteers began to arrive. Moshe and Tom stabilized the boy and stopped the bleeding before the ambulance arrived. When it made its way to the scene, Tom and Moshe assisted in loading their now stable young patient onto the ambulance so that he could be rushed to the ER.


Tom and Moshe’s company, Cause Match Israel, issued a statement on the Facebook page expressing their proud support for the actions of their staff members. “Cause Match Israel – helping people isn’t just our business model. It’s our way of life!”

Tom finally returned to his office, took a minute to clean up, and then got on his Zoom meeting with the prospective client. One of his staff had explained to them why Tom was late, and Tom was greeted with understanding and support for his actions by those he was supposed to meet with a few minutes prior. 


“The explanation of why I was late, actually served as a great ice breaker for the meeting and showed a really human side of both myself and the company I work for,” Tom said. “They were very understanding and even wished the boy well. Hopefully, we’ll be able to close the deal with their non-profit organization and help them too.”


Tom added, “I really love volunteering with United Hatzalah and having the knowledge and tools necessary to help others. This ethos goes beyond just me, as my wife and two of my brothers also volunteer as first responders with the organization. Having the equipment nearby certainly helped save this boy on Monday. It is important to keep it close by and it is important to be in good shape so that you can run when you need to, in order to help as quickly as possible.” 


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A Thankful Bride Invites The EMT Who Saved Her To Her Wedding

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yoav Shemaryahu from Rosh Ha’ayin was called to a medical emergency in his neighborhood last Pesach (2019). A young woman was in the shower fully dressed and crying. As the first responder on the scene, Yoav asked the young woman what had happened so that he could begin a proper patient assessment and take a medical history.

Yoav at the wedding with Hila and her husband Roey

The woman, Hila Meuda, replied that she had been heating up wax in the microwave and when she opened the door the bowl of boiling wax exploded on her face and her arms causing her second-degree burns. Yoav saw that there was wax that had attached itself to her skin and was not coming off in the shower.


“Hila told me that she had been preparing to go out to the mall and meet up with friends but her night was ruined when she suffered second-degree burns to her face and hands because of the wax. She was hysterical thinking that no one would want to be her friend any longer and that her social life would be over because she would have scars,” Yoav recounted.

“I work in Ichilov hospital in the orthopedic ward and I have seen burn victims many times. I began to treat her and calm her down the whole time helping her to remove the wax slowly in a way that wouldn’t exacerbate the burns that she had suffered. Neither the girl nor her mother wanted her to go to the hospital so they refused the ambulance when it arrived. I stayed with her and helped her with immediate first aid treatment and her mother contacted a burn specialist that she knew to arrange for further treatment and care.”


A year later he received a joyful surprise. “More than a year has passed since the event, and last week I received an unexpected phone call. I answered the phone and the voice on the other side of the call was one that I couldn’t quite place. ‘Hello, my name is Hila, last year you treated me for burns. I wanted to say thank you and invite you to my wedding.’ I was shocked,” explained Yoav. “I respond to hundreds of emergencies and rarely do I reconnect with the people who I help. It is very special whenever someone reaches out like this. I felt obligated to attend, especially as she invited me now when the number of people who can attend a wedding is strictly limited.”


The wedding, which took place on Wednesday, with a small crowd in compliance with Covid-19 Coronavirus restrictions, was an emotional evening for Yoav. “I was so happy to be there and see Hila smiling and looking beautiful on her wedding night.”


Hila recounted the dramatic events of the night from more than a year prior. “After the wax exploded my mother rushed me into the shower. I remember screaming in pain and then less than a minute later Yoav was there calming me down and helping me. He spent hours with me taking all the burning wax off of my skin so that the burns would heal properly. He responded so quickly, long before the ambulance, and stayed for a long time afterward helping me. I wanted to say thank you to Yoav and to United Hatzalah so I invited Yoav to my wedding. I hope that Yoav and United Hatzalah keep doing the amazing work that they are doing for many years to come. I am very thankful to Yoav and I am happy that he was able to come and attend my wedding and take pictures with me and my new husband Roey.”

(submitted with the consent and knowledge of the patient.  – Photo credit – United Hatzalah) 

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International Auction In Support of EMS Workers In Israel

United Hatzalah of Israel has launched an international online auction to support the work of its emergency medical service (EMS) volunteers in Israel. The online auction includes once-in-a-lifetime experiences in North America, Israel, and the United Kingdom. 

Items include tickets to the 2021 Superbowl,  the Movie Premiere and After-Party of Fantastic Beasts 3 in (2022), and the 2020 Country Music Awards, private boat tours and helicopter rides, diamond jewelry, meet and greets with boxer Floyd Mayweather and music icon Andrea Bocelli, a personal shopping experience with iconic designer Roland Mouret, exclusive VIP Bentley Tour and Tour of the royal residence in Highgrove, England, as well as many more. 

“Covid-19 continues to shape our day-to-day lives and I am very excited about engaging with our supporters in a different way through the auction,” said Founder and President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.

“Travel is no longer easy but that doesn’t mean that people don’t still want to get excited about opportunities and experiences which will enrich their lives. Our auction will give them the chance to do just that while helping to support the efforts of our front-line EMS volunteers. Covid-19 may be impacting life as we know it but ultimately, we are an emergency medical services organization and our volunteers are active each and every day.”

United Hatzalah’s network of more than 6,000 EMTs, paramedics, and doctors, responds to more than 2,000 medical emergencies daily in Israel as well as conducting Covid-19 testing in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the country. The organization is supported solely by donations and events such as this auction.  

The auction, which began on Monday, June 8th, will close on June 21st. The auction winners will be notified and the organization will facilitate prize delivery. To view the auction and place a bid please visit the website at www.israelrescue.org/auction  

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Helping Others: The Satisfaction Of A Mother, Teacher, And Her Son

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 delivering food packages to the elderly with her son

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. 

Osnat’s son delivering food packages to the elderly with his mom

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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Jewish EMT From Israel Donates Bone Marrow To Save American Muslim Child

“My name is Yisrael Otmazgin. I am a Jewish Israeli and this is the story of how I saved the life of a Muslim American boy that I never met. 

Yisrael Otmazgin on his ambucycle

A year has passed since I underwent a bone marrow donation. I underwent surgery,  fully sedated, in order to donate bone marrow to a boy whom I didn’t know and had never met. A year in which, according to international law, it is forbidden to reveal the identities of the donor or the recipient of the donation. 


A few days ago I received a phone call from the coordinator of bone marrow donations at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. “Shalom Yisrael,” the coordinator began. “The family of the recipient child of your bone marrow wants to contact you and I know that you have expressed interest in being in contact as well, so please sign a confidentiality waiver and I’ll connect you.” 


24 hours after I signed the waiver, I received a form with contact details and preferred method of contact for the family of the recipient. It was then made known to me that the recipient was a young boy in the United States located in the state of Michigan. 


I wanted to immediately contact them, but how could I? I didn’t know whether the boy’s life had been saved. If the boy died, then contacting them would deepen their trauma. 

I decided to send a very carefully worded message. I identified myself as “the donor” and I wrote that I was very much hoping to save the life of the child who was the recipient.


A few minutes passed and I received a reply. “Hi, This is ******. Israel, thank you so much for saving my son. I cannot thank you enough. I am really excited to meet you too.” 


At that moment, there was likely no one happier on the face of the planet than myself. We arranged for a video meeting the next day. As soon as the meeting started, the tears flowed as the mother of the recipient told me what happened to her son.


“My son was born with a rare and debilitating physical ailment called SCID. This disease prevents the body from properly developing an immune system. This means that even the tiniest and most insignificant bacteria or viruses can kill our child. Children like him are kept inside of a “vault” in the hospital to make sure that they do not contract any illness. Their normal life expectancy is less than a year if a bone marrow donor cannot be found.  His two older brothers were only a 50 percent match. But you, from all the people in the bone marrow database, were a 100 percent match.” (There are close to 44 million people in the database.)


The patient’s mother continued: “Following the transplant, his body responded well to the treatment and there was an immediate improvement in his medical condition. Since then, he has contracted three separate illnesses that are common for young children and his body overcame the illnesses each time. This means that the transplant succeeded. This means that he is also partly your child. He is alive because of you and we have no way to say thank you.” 


At this point, we were both in tears. 


We continued the conversation and I introduced their family to my family. They then introduced me to the cute boy whose life I helped save. He was an American Muslim. He is a very sweet boy who is full of life and joy. I was a bit surprised that here I am in Israel, an ultra-orthodox Jew, and I saved the life of a Muslim boy in the United States by donating part of my bone marrow to him. After my initial surprise, I realized what kind of connection God made here- a connection of life and love between two people who in regular day-to-day life would likely never meet one another and if they did meet would most likely not like one another. We all have dreams of what our children will grow to become. Now this family has a chance for their son to realize both his dreams and theirs. 


Those who know me, know that I am an EMT with United Hatzalah of Israel, the national EMS organization whose volunteers drop whatever they are doing and rush to save lives at a moment’s notice. I also serve in the IDF Home Front Command elite rescue unit as a reservist and often come across death serving as a Zaka volunteer. With that in mind, I am happy to be involved with anything that can save a life, no matter whose life that is. 


I am an Israeli and I live in Israel, yet I saved the life of this young Arab boy in the United States. I am incredibly happy about being able to do so and I sincerely hope that my story will serve as a guide for the sanctity of life to people all over the world.” 

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Israeli Musicians Partner With United Hatzalah For Free Yom Yerushalayim Concert

On Thursday, May 21st, as Jews the world over will be commemorating the reunification of the city of Jerusalem, Israeli music greats, Chaim David, Shlomo Katz, Zusha, The Portnoy Brothers, Nuriel, and Naftali and Shlomo Abramson, will be performing via a live-streamed concert event aimed at giving something back to the community. 

Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel said: “The situation that we are living in right now has been really tough on a lot of people. One of the things that our volunteers have encountered time and again is the high level of stress that everyone seems to be living with, especially after an elongated lockdown where people were unable to celebrate with family members and loved ones. This is an abnormal situation and from a health perspective, we need to deal with our own emotional well being as well as the well being of others. We hope that this concert will help in some small way by allowing people to take a break and enjoy themselves.“ 


Maisel added: “In lieu of people being able to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim together as they would in a normal year, with live music and concerts, we took it upon ourselves to create a feel-good event where everyone could de-stress for a short time “together apart”. This event is being done completely free of charge and we aren’t asking for donations. The point is simply to say thank you to our community and to celebrate together with some great music.”  


The event, which marks the Hebrew date of the reunification of Israel’s capital in 1967, is the second major event that the organization has hosted via live stream in the month of May. Earlier in the month, United Hatzalah hosted “Saving Lives Sunday” a targeted fundraising event that succeeded at raising more than $1,000,000 in support of the work that is being done by the organization to fight the Covid-19 Coronavirus. Since that event, United Hatzalah has stepped up testing patients for Covid-19 in numerous areas of Jerusalem and the surrounding area, focusing mainly on testing patients in the Ultra-Orthodox communities of Geulah, Meah Shearim, Beitar Illit, Beit Shemesh and other locations that have been some of the hardest-hit areas in Israel. 


Everyone is invited to register for the free live-streamed Yom Yerushalayim Concert, by going to the website: https://israelrescue.org/event/YomYerushalayim 

The event will begin on Thursday evening, May 21st at 8:00 p.m. Israel time (GMT+2)

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