On Tuesday morning a week ago, United Hatzalah volunteers were dispatched to a private pool at a vacation home in Sedot Michah where a two-year-old boy had drowned in a private pool. The volunteers who arrived performed CPR on the child and managed to regain a pulse before he was airlifted to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center for further treatment.
Yosef (right) and Dudu, help evacuate Noam to the helicopter to be taken to hospital
One week later, the same volunteers were able to visit the child and his family in Hadassah. The child, Noam Levi, had woken up and fully come back to himself on Monday, just six days after the drowning. By Tuesday he was playful, interacted with his rescuers, and even played with some of them during the visit.
Noam’s mother, Sara Levi, thanked the volunteers for helping to save her son’s life. “The day that Noam drowned was the craziest day of my life. I only really understood what happened the next day. We have seen miracles in the past and this was one of them. United Hatzalah arrived so quickly and treated him so well. He received the best care from them and from the staff here at Hadassah. Between the expert care that Noam received and the prayers that everyone was saying for him, I truly believed in my heart that Noam would return to us. And thankfully, here he is.”
From left – Yosef, Daniella, Sara, Noam Aviel, Dudu, Akiva, Shimon
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yosef Rimmel who was the first responder at the scene joined the family in celebrating Noam’s miraculous recovery. “When I arrived at the scene I was joined very quickly by two other volunteers from United Hatzalah. We found that Family members had pulled Noam from the water after he had drowned in the pool. The boy’s grandmother was performing compressions on him. We took over compressions and continued with a full CPR.”
Rimmel continued, “At the time that we arrived, Noam was unconscious, was not breathing, and had no pulse. Even though the defibrillator did not recommend giving Noam a shock, we managed to regain a pulse and get him breathing again prior to his being transported to the hospital. He was still in critical condition when he was transported but thankfully here he is today alive and well. There cannot be any greater satisfaction for a volunteer EMT than what we are witnessing here today.”
Noam’s Father Aviel Levy said, “We have no words to thank United Hatzalah and everyone who helped save our boy’s life. We witnessed an open miracle. This is not an incident that logic can explain. God brought our boy back to us with a miracle. I told my wife, people hear on the news stories of children who die they are accidentally locked in cars. How must the parents feel I asked her? So now, unfortunately, we know how they feel. I was looking at my son and I thought to God, what are the chances that he survives? The team of volunteers kept going. No matter what, they kept doing compressions. They kept at it for more than 20 minutes. The whole time I asked myself ‘what are the chances that my son my Noam survives?’ But they didn’t give up and that is why he is here today.”
Dudu Amar another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT told Aviel about what was going through his mind when he was performing compressions. “I was thinking that no matter what we can not give up. This story is exactly why we can never give up. We always must keep trying, especially with children. Children are by nature resilient and they have a knack for surviving in situations where no one else would. This was a miracle, but it shows us that we must never give up.”
Daniella Smadja who also responded to the incident and treated Noam told Noam’s parents “Your son will be an important member of the people of Israel one day. He is going to grow up and become someone who does great things and brings people joy. He has a lot of merit being rescued like this, watch and see.”
Daniella with Sara and Noam
Yosef, Dudu, and Daniella, together with Akiva Galandawer and Shimon Kapiloff who also participated in the CPR and the visit at Hadassah, are among the 6,000 volunteers of United Hatzalah who answer more than 1,800 emergency calls each day with an average response time of fewer than three minutes
An additional incredible anecdote to this story:
Just a few months ago, Yugi (Yosef) Rimel had an unfathomable tragedy happen to him and his family: Yugi’s son Ephraim stopped at a red light and out of nowhere a Palestinian driver drove full speed of 120 mph into his car. It was not clear what caused the accident or why the driver was going so fast, but the collision was devastating. Also in the car was Yugi’s 3-week old granddaughter Noam, his 10-year-old grandson Itai and his daughter-in-law Tzippora. Yugi’s son and 10-year-old Grandson were both critically injured and are still in the hospital recovering, but both of them will probably never walk again. Even more tragic, 3 week old Noam and her mother Tzippora did not survive.
Yugi’s life is dedicated to helping others and this has been the worst year of his life. Despite the horrible things that have happened to his family, Yugi continues to help others and the ordeal has inspired him, even more, to save as many lives as possible.
When Yugi received the emergency call about a young boy drowning, he ran so fast you would think he was a youngster, but Yugi is nearly 60 years old. He arrived at the scene and immediately started professional CPR to get the boy’s pulse back, connected one of our defibrillators to the child, and after twenty minutes of not giving up, the toddler finally got his pulse back and was flown into the nearest hospital.
Yugi is truly a lovable person and everyone he encounters sees his kindness and compassion. When he went to visit the boy in the hospital he connected with him immediately and began hugging and kissing him as if he knew him. All of a sudden he heard the little boy’s mom calling him Noam, he was in complete and utter shock. Both his granddaughter who perished and the boy he saved had the same name. He was completely blown away by this and it gave him great closure.
This is such an inspiring story in more ways than one and gives a perspective from the volunteer, not just from the side of the little boy’s family. This is why we do what we do every day, and when we succeed, we feel so happy and proud to play a role in saving lives. To know that someone is alive today and with their loved ones because of the work we do –– there is no greater joy in this world.
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