EMS Volunteer Revives Traveler Who Suffered Heart Attack at Ben Gurion Airport

Early Thursday morning, a man in his fifties traveling to Ben Gurion airport suffered a heart attack right outside the front gate to the departures lounge. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yoni Uziyahu, was at the airport, rushed over, and together with the airport medical team, began CPR and succeeded in reviving the man.

United Hatzalah volunteer's ambucycle parked outside of gate 3 at Ben Gurion airport

United Hatzalah volunteer’s ambucycle parked outside of gate 3 at Ben Gurion airport


Uziyahu, who lives in Bat Yam, had been at the airport for business as he is a supplier for some of the coffee shops and duty-free stores in the airport. “I am so full of positive energy right now that I am literally shaking,” Uziyahu said. “There is no better feeling in the world than starting off your day by saving someone’s life. That is what United Hatzalah is about – taking volunteers who are going about their daily lives, giving us the training and the equipment we need to save a life and getting us the information that someone needs help nearby. Due to all of these factors combined we saved this man’s life today.”


Uziyahu said that he received the call via the emergency medical application on his phone which notified him about the emergency. He told the dispatch center that he was en route to the spot of the emergency and arrived in less than three minutes from the time that the heart attack occurred. “It is not a question of being in the right place at the right time. I wasn’t doing anything special, I was doing my job and the emergency occurred.”


Founder and President of the organization Eli Beer commended Uziyahu and the other responders for their quick response and successful resuscitation. “This is the beauty of what our volunteers do. They are trained and know how to help people who need that help right next to them. They are notified about the problem, drop whatever they are doing, rush out to the victim, arrive in the fastest time possible and help them. That is what makes all of the United Hatzalah volunteers so amazing.”

The patient did not make his flight. After receiving one shock from the defibrillator the patient revived. He was then transported in stable condition to the nearest hospital.  

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Rushing Into a Terror Attack – An Open Letter From the First Responder On Scene at the Halamish Attack

On Friday Night United Hatzalah volunteer EMS personnel left their families at their dinner tables and ran into, not away from, a terror attack that took place right next to their homes.


Doron Mah Tov lives in the town of Halamish and was the first medical responders at the scene of the heinous attack that claimed the lives of Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon and injured Yosef’s wife Tova. The grandfather, uncle, and aunt had been celebrating the birth of a new baby boy together with the rest of the family when the terrorist killed them in cold blood in their own home.


Following the Attack, Doron Mah Tov wrote of his experience of being the first responder and treating his friends and neighbors.

Doron Mah Tov on duty

Doron Mah Tov on duty

“My family was just finishing our Friday night meal together. This is usually a festive time for us, as it is for all Jews, as it ushers in the Shabbat, a peaceful day of rest. Our neighbors down the street were having a special celebration as their son and daughter in law had just given birth to a new baby boy. The grandparents were hosting a gathering for the entire community. Their joy turned to sadness when a terrorist entered their unlocked home and began stabbing anyone he could. The uncle of the new infant rushed to protect his family, the grandfather and aunt were caught in the mix, and the grandmother also sustained wounds. These people were my neighbors and my friends and it became my duty to try and save their lives. The sanctity of the day turned into tragedy.  


A soldier who was in the house opposite heard the commotion ran outside and shot the terrorist in the stomach, neutralizing, but not killing him. The alert went out. I got the call that there had been an incident and ran out with my medical gear in order to provide whatever help I could. The soldier, who had run outside to bring help waved me inside the house. I arrived just seconds after the dispatch center informed me of the incident and I saw the grandfather and uncle dead at the scene. Here was a new uncle who would never see his nephew grow up and a grandfather who would never have the joy of bouncing his new grandson on his knee. But I had to put these emotions aside and see if I could help others who needed me. I began CPR on the aunt who was badly injured but still alive. Other responders joined me and we continued resuscitative efforts as long as we could. Unfortunately, she too succumbed to her wounds.


We moved on to treat the grandmother, attempting to save her from death’s grasp. Luckily her wounds were not as severe and we were able to treat and save her.


As an EMT you are trained to respond professionally to medical emergencies no matter what they are or who is in need of treatment. We have to take our emotions out of the picture for a time and act and react with a cool professionalism in order to save those whom we can, especially in circumstances as tragic as this. There will be times for tears later. At the scene, we cannot afford to be queasy but afterwards it can hit you like a truck. You have to be in the place where people need you because there is something that you can do in order to help them You can’t simply run the other way.


Scenes like this one are hard because you rush in and are in a state of shock at the scene you see before you. I saw three bodies on the ground in pools of blood all over the floor and walls.I said to myself,  “What do I need to do? What actions do I need to take to save the lives of these people in front of me?” As I quickly began to treat the wounded, I realized one of them was the terrorist. That is when one of the town’s security detail ushered me away from him as I myself was not wearing any protective gear.

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Miracle in Herzliya – Driver of Car Hit by Passenger Train Walks Away

Last night at approximately 00:40 United Hatzalah dispatch called volunteer EMS personnel to the scene of a serious traffic accident that occurred on Hamaapilim St. in Herzliya. A private car had been hit by a train and thrown some 20 meters from the site of the impact.


United Hatzalah EMS volunteers from across the city rushed to the scene as did police, fire and rescue crews and ambulance services. Emergency crews braced for the worst upon arriving at the scene and seeing the state that the car was in.


Chen Ben Ami, a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah and one of the ambucycle drivers in the area, was among the first responders at the scene and reported the following. “We arrived at the scene after receiving the report of a serious accident. We braced ourselves for a death and to need to evacuate the body from the crushed vehicle that had been pushed quite a long distance from the crash site by the force of the train. To our surprise, we were glad to find that the driver had only sustained light injuries and was fully conscious and even able to walk. We treated her for her injuries before transferring her to an ambulance to be taken to hospital for further evaluation.”


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Florida Cycling Organization Donates Electric Bicycle to Save Lives in Israel

This past week, two members of the Jewish Latin American cycling group from Aventura known as Beitzim, visiting United Hatzalah headquarters to learn more about how the organization uses electric bicycles to save lives. Isaac and Tania Murciano, founding members of the cycling group participated in a special dedication of the newest electric bicycle in United Hatzalah’s fleet. The bicycle, according to Shai Jaskol who led the tour, will be used in neighborhoods where the terrain makes travel difficult even for ambucycles, such as the narrow pathways and staircases of the Old CIty of Jerusalem and the Old City of Jaffa.

Isaac and Tania at the Beitzim Bicycle Dedication with Shai Jaskoll

Isaac and Tania Murciano at the Beitzim Bicycle Dedication with Shai Jaskoll

“Most of our group comes from Venezuela and fled the country,” said Tania, who described herself and her husband as representing the larger group. “The group includes approximately 150 people and was formed 8 years ago. The group supports Israel and rides across the country in the Alyn bicycle ride once a year.”  Isaac added that the group is looking to add a second race in Israel to their international docket. “Everyone wants to be involved, but people don’t know that much about the organization yet. Once they hear about what you do, they will all want to participate in supporting this organization,” Tania added.


Isaac noted how modern and rugged the EMS electric bicycle that was donated by the organization is. “It’s modern and looks like it can withstand a beating. It looks like it will be used and used well.”


The couple said that they spearheaded the donation of the electric bicycle because they were exposed to the compelling story of United Hatzalah at their own home when they were asked to host a fundraising event for the organization in March. “We have a large house and we often get asked if we can host fundraisers and events for different charities,” said Tania. “We didn’t know what United Hatzalah was, but we certainly found out. Danielle David, the Senior Development Adviser of American Friends of United Hatzalah organized the event and more than 180 people showed up. We met the President and Founder of the organization Eli Beer and after hearing his story we knew that we wanted to make a donation.”

Isaac added that “other members of the group were at the event and word spread that we should make a donation. We decided to donate an electric bicycle because it is something close to our hearts. We ride bicycles all the time and we encourage riding them. So donating one to help save lives in Israel was a really beautiful opportunity for us.”

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A Cold Drink, Inspecting Gear and a Letter of Thanks to Volunteers on a Hot Day

For the past two weeks during the hot afternoon hours, Deputy Director of Volunteer Operations Ariel Ben David, and Chief Paramedic Avi Marcus, have been surprising United Hatzalah volunteers in the field by bringing them a cold drink and a letter of thanks for their tireless efforts. Ben David and Marcus have been making the rounds to volunteers around the country checking to make sure that their medical equipment is updated and replacing any missing items that they may have. In addition, they give the volunteers a cold drink and a letter of appreciation. In the past week, they have visited volunteers in the central region chapters of Bat Yam, Holon, Rishon Letzion, Ramla, Lod, Petach Tikva and Tel Aviv. Last month they visited volunteers in the northern coastal chapters around Haifa and the southern chapters around Ashdod, Lachish and Ashkelon

Ariel Ben David and Avi Marcus treat volunteers to a cold beverage while giving them a letter of thanks in the field.

Ariel Ben David and Avi Marcus treat volunteers to a cold beverage while giving them a letter of thanks in the field.

The visits take place immediately following an emergency to which the volunteers respond. Ben David and Marcus arrive at the location of the emergency, inspect the medical equipment of the volunteer to help maintain the organization’s high level of care in the field, and then give the volunteer a letter of thanks from the organization for their efforts. “During these hot summer weeks it is important to maintain our level of care for our patients, and that means maintaining the morale of our volunteers who respond and offer that care free of charge,” said Ben David.  “Other than the feeling of doing something good for someone else, our volunteers don’t get anything for their efforts. The policy of United Hatzalah is to make sure that the volunteers know that they are appreciated for their dedication and for the selfless work that they do. Giving our volunteers a cold drink and a letter of thanks right after they respond to an emergency, is a very small token of our gratitude to our more than 3,500 volunteers across the country.”

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In addition to the visits by Ben David and Marcus, the Volunteer Liaison department of the organization calls dozens of volunteers daily to personally thank them for their effort and to touch base with the volunteers and see if they lack for anything in terms of medical equipment. This department also provides assistance with personal difficulties that the volunteers may have within the framework of their volunteering.

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“I am always happy to meet with the volunteers in the field, especially after they have just gone to answer an emergency call and help someone. We were able to relay our thanks and the thanks that the organization has for the tremendous dedication that the volunteers display every day,” said Ben David.

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Avi Marcus added to Ben David’s comments and said, “It is always very moving for me to see our volunteers in action. Their dedication and expert level of care they provide are not to be taken for granted in any way. The fact that our volunteers drop whatever it is that they are doing, whether it is at work, at home, or during their leisure time, and head out to respond to emergencies and save lives, that is something special that each and every one of them displays and they deserve our utmost respect and thanks for doing this. Our goal is to visit our volunteers in every chapter and city across the country.”  

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Former Atlanta Doctor Finds Commonality in Civilian and Military EMS Approaches in Israel

Former Atlantan Dr. Arie Pelta has been appointed to be the new head of medicine for the Beit Shemesh region of United Hatzalah. Pelta, a reservist in the IDF, is currently in the middle of combat medical officer training but took some time out of his reserve duty to speak about the recent appointment.

Dr. Pelta in IDF training to become an officer

Dr. Pelta in IDF training to become an officer

“It’s ironic that I am talking about this appointment now,” said Pelta who was enjoying some quiet time from training. “The irony lies in the similarities between what I am learning in training here in the IDF and what I need to do for United Hatzalah at home. The most important thing is to know how to properly manage one’s team in the field during a whole range of emergencies, the most complex of which is a mass-casualty incident or MCI. There, the highest ranking medical responder needs to take charge of all of the medical responders in the field and give them precise instructions on how to triage and treat patients. Essentially, I have to be the person who tells everyone else what to do.”


The responsibility that falls on Pelta with this new position is not lightly managed. The logistics can be quite overwhelming for the untrained in the art of managing disaster scenarios such as terror attacks or large-scale car accidents as well as many others.


“A lot of times in EMS work in the field, a lot of EMTs, paramedics and other volunteers arrive. While they each know how to treat a patient, many times it is difficult to ascertain who to treat first and how to make that distinction. The triage decisions, as well as making sure that all of the patients in the field have been attended to, necessitate split second decisions that save lives time and time again. This process is expedited in the field by training and working numerous practice drills for the command officers as well as the responders themselves.”


Pelta added that the training he received by United Hatzalah and the IDF compliment each other extremely well in this area. “UH has special training in that field as does the IDF and I feel that they very much compliment each other. The tools I have been given really work.”

Dr. Pelta receiving advanced defibrillator donated by Atlanta Jewish Community from United Hatzalah

Dr. Pelta receiving advanced defibrillator donated by Atlanta Jewish Community from United Hatzalah

Pelta recently took a group of 6 United Hatzalah volunteers in Beit Shemesh and trained them as a cohesive unit so that when they arrive at any given scene each one finds their place among the responders in the field and knows exactly what each of the team members is responsible for doing, and where they themselves fit into the picture.


“The whole idea is figuring out a way to improve the quality of the training that we receive in order to be able to provide the highest level of care for the patients with the fastest response time possible. The time it takes responders to figure out where they are needed during an MCI or any other emergency, is time that the patient is not receiving care. To work as a cohesive team and thereby cut out precious seconds means that we provide our high level of care for the patients even faster and that is what this is all about.”


Before immigrating to Israel and joining both United Hatzalah and the IDF, Pelta was the head of the Colon/Rectal division in Atlanta Medical Center and was a professor of surgery at the Medical College of Georgia. Currently, in Israel, Pelta works out of the HMO in Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and has private clinics in the Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv, as well as private offices in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.


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On First Ever EMS Call, Two New Recruits Deliver A Baby

Last week Wednesday in Modi’in, 21 new EMTs graduated their training course with United Hatzalah and began volunteering as EMS responders with the organization in the city and surrounding area. The very next day, Ayelet Telem and Eran Zriker, both graduates of the course, received an emergency alert, headed out, and delivered a baby boy.

Ayelet Telem and Eran Zriker

Ayelet Telem and Eran Zriker

The birth took place on Thursday evening at the home of the patient. Telem and Zriker happened to be nearby, each going about their day. They both received the call, rushed to the scene and arrived in less than three minutes from the time that the dispatch center received the emergency call. Telem and Zriker saw that the woman was in the later stages of labor and when they notified dispatch they were told that the ambulance was still a few minutes away. They then prepared to help deliver the baby.

Putting into practice the protocols that they learned in their recently finished course, the pair of EMT volunteers worked in tandem to prepare the woman and the environment for delivery. They assisted the woman through the difficult labor and continued caring for both her and the newly born infant boy until the ambulance arrived. At the request of the ambulance team, Telem was asked to accompany the new mother and infant to the hospital and continue to provide care on the ambulance.

The mother asked to publicly thank the volunteers for their quick response and expert care, without which she would certainly have had a rougher birthing experience.

“The mother gets a lot of the credit,” said Telem. “We assisted wherever we could, but she was the true hero of the story. When we arrived she was very well advanced, and throughout the entire experience, I recalled everything that we had learned and practiced in the course. It was as if I heard the voice of my teachers in my ear during the entire experience.”

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India Wants to Build EMS System Modeled After Israel’s United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah has been working together with the AJC to build a community-based EMS response model in India. The two organizations aim to build a similar first responders model to the one that has been so effective in Israel. In order to further that goal, United Hatzalah’s Founder and President Eli Beer, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India last week, during the latter’s visit to Israel. The meeting lasted for about 20 minutes, during which Beer illustrated how the United Hatzalah model could be used in clogged cities, as well as hard to reach outlying areas in India.

Eli Beer

Eli Beer

“The meeting was very exciting for me,” said Eli Beer. “We had a meaningful discussion in which I explained our model that has community-based responders who receive proper training and a full complement of medical supplies, enabling them to go out and respond to medical emergencies in their neighborhoods long before an ambulance can arrive on scene. With the congested streets that are characteristic of many of India’s cities, and large segments of the population who live in areas with difficult terrain, having local volunteer responders in India could save many lives.”


Beer came out of the meeting pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest and love that Prime Minister Modi had shown for Israel. “It was clear to see from talking to him just how much he loved Israel and how eager he was to build a stronger relationship between the two countries. The Prime Minister went on at length about how much he loved Israeli innovation. He told that he had been waiting for many years to come to Israel and was happy that he was able to be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.”


According to Beer, Prime Minister Modi was especially impressed with the sheer amount of Israel’s social innovations. “He told me that he always knew how Israel was very advanced in technological innovations, but never knew that social innovations such as United Hatzalah were so prevalent in Israel as well.”


Following the meeting, Prime Minister Modi spoke positively of the EMS model and said that he would love to having something similar in India. The AJC then announced that they will be working together with United Hatzalah to develop a model that would best fit the country’s needs.


Beer’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi was one of a number of private meetings that the President held in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on Wednesday afternoon, just after 4:30 p.m.


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An Extraordinary Meeting Takes Place in Dimona

Two weeks ago, a meeting took place on a bus in Dimona that was quite out of the ordinary. The thing that made it extraordinary was not that only one of the people recognized the other, nor was it that the two people didn’t share a word. What made it extraordinary was that one of the people was an EMT by the name of Yosef Asor, who had unexpectedly bumped into a man whose life he had saved some six months prior.

Yosef Asor

Yosef Asor

Asor is a married young father of two and a career air force officer who lives in Dimona. In addition to his busy workload and family life, Asor volunteers in various organizations that help sick children and visits the elderly in old-age homes. He is also an avid volunteer with United Hatzalah as it is a natural extension of his desire to help others.


Asor recalled the story of the rescue in which he saved the life of a man whom he met once again, six months later in a very unexpected place. “A few weeks after I began volunteering, I received an emergency alert that a person near my location had fainted. I ran out of my house and raced to the scene. I arrived at the address within less than a minute and found a man lying on the floor surrounded by worried friends. It was clear to me that they had been in the middle of a party. I quickly realized that the 40-year-old man was not just unconscious, but pulseless as well. From what we learned later, he had suffered a massive heart attack, but at the time I only saw an unconscious patient and so I began to act accordingly. I immediately began CPR and I enlisted the aid of the man’s stunned friends who I instructed how to do compressions. I attached a defibrillator, and then began providing ventilations, all the while continuing to instruct the man’s friends regarding the compressions as needed. One of them told me that this was a goodbye party for the man who was supposed to return to the United States. His family was waiting there for him.”

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EMT Treats Girl for Allergic Reaction to Lotion, Develops Same Reaction In Spite of Following Protocol

An allergic reaction is not something that is contagious, however, an unlikely situation occurred on Wednesday, when EMS teams were called to help treat a young woman who developed a severe allergic reaction to a tanning cream that she had been using.

Shai Levi (17) who hails from Kibbutz Matzuva in the western Galilee, went to a tanning spa in Nahariya and applied some tanning lotion that was intended to speed up the tanning process.  

Levi and Elbaz pose together after being treated for their allergic reaction to the tanning cream

Levi and Elbaz pose together after being treated for their allergic reaction to the tanning cream

“This is not the first time that I have used this cream, but it is the first time I had an allergic reaction to it,” Levi explained to Yisrael Hayom reporters. Her symptoms developed rather quickly. “I applied the lotion and as I was stepping into the tanning bed I suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded,” said Levi. Levi proceeded to faint in just before she stepped into the tanning bed. “I don’t recall exactly what happened but I know that people sat me up on a chair. They thought that I had dehydrated due to exposure to the machine, but I hadn’t even gotten into it yet. When I regained consciousness, I had trouble breathing and I had splotches all over my body. I became very distressed and began to cry as I was given oxygen to help ease my breathing.”

United Hatzalah EMT Meir Elbaz was the first responder at the scene and began to treat Levi. During the process, Levi’s situation deteriorated and the EMS responders began to consider performing full CPR on her.

“When I arrived at the tanning salon, I saw a 17-year-old girl (Levi) being propped up on a chair. She was having difficulty breathing and had signs of an allergic reaction on her skin. I took a full set of vital signs and began to take an oral history from those present. After asking if she had eaten anything strange, or was exposed to anything out of the ordinary, I was told that she had, just a few minutes previously, applied the tanning cream before stepping into the tanning bed. Someone mentioned that this wasn’t the first time she had used the cream, and I explained that occasionally, allergies can erupt even after the first few times of using a new product.”   

After Levi had been treated on scene, prepped, and transported by ambulance to the hospital, Elbaz came back inside to the tanning salon to gather up his equipment. While collecting his medical supplies he began to suffer an allergic reaction and itchy spots formed on his hand. “I looked at my hand and I saw that the same marks that Shai had on her hand now appeared on mine.”

“I called the ambulance team that transported Levi to the hospital to see if they had suffered a reaction as well. They said that they hadn’t. I headed over to the emergency room and received anti-allergy medication. I have never had an allergic reaction to anything before in my life and as I was treating an allergy patient I was shocked to find that I had a reaction myself. I used protective gloves and followed protocol the whole way through. However, as I helped to put her on a wheelchair for transport it must have been then that my skin came into contact with hers in a place that she had put on the lotion.  

Elbaz took the cream to the hospital with him in order to have the team there check it out but the cream had not yet expired and had a seal of approval from the Ministry of Health’s Import Division.

Elbaz concluded by saying that in spite of his reaction his determination to help people has not dwindled. “I will still do my best to save lives and help people wherever I can. This incident won’t phase me in that regard. I will continue to take all proper procedures to protect myself and follow all of the protocols set forth by the organization and the Ministry of Health in doing so.

Levi said following the incident, “Meir came to the hospital to visit me, and to get himself checked out as well. At first, I felt somewhat guilty for having caused him to be exposed to this. But I understand that his reaction was far less than mine. I will no longer be using these types of products. I know now that they are not good for me.”

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