Dalton resident, Orly Ezra is a woman of many talents, in addition to running her own tourism business and renting out tzimmerim (guesthouses) in her hometown of Dalton, she is also a mother of eight children aged 27-11 and volunteers as an EMT with United Hatzalah in a number of capacities. In addition to being a volunteer first responder who drops whatever she is doing and rushes out to respond to medical emergencies whenever they occur in her area, Orly also volunteers with the organization’s Ten Kavod project as well as the Emergency Room assistance project.
As part of the Ten Kavod (Giving Honor) project, Orly visits an elderly person who lives on their own at least once a week. She spends an hour with them, checking their medical status as well as being social with them so as to alleviate the feeling of loneliness that they feel. “This project was especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic in Israel when many of the elderly were cut off from the rest of the world for fear of contracting the virus,” said project director Ariel Ben David. “Many of the elderly in Israel, including Holocaust survivors who are part of the project, didn’t leave their homes at all during the entire year of the pandemic and the only social interaction they had was with volunteers who visited them, volunteer like Orly.”
As part of the Emergency Room Assistance project, Orly, like some 500 other volunteers across the country, does at a minimum two shifts a month, each for 3-4 hours in the emergency room of a local hospital. Orly works with Ziv hospital in Tzefat. As part of the project, she assists the nursing staff at the hospital with patient triage and intake, as well as performing numerous vital tasks in caring for the patients. Orly and other participating volunteers are responsible for some of the basic care that the incoming patients receive in the emergency room and by doing this they alleviate the pressure felt by the medical teams during peak intake times.
“I’ve been volunteering for more than three years as part of United Hatzalah and I love it,” said Orly. “I live in an area without a lot of first responders, and as the towns are fairly far apart, ambulance response times can be slow, especially if the other volunteers aren’t around when an emergency occurs,” explained the seasoned EMT. “We have a lot of car accidents here due to the windy roads and a lot of hikers get stuck on the nearby hiking trail of Nahal Amud. Those keep us pretty busy, as do the home child-births that take place because women can’t make it to the hospital in time,” Orly explained. “We have lots of other medical calls as well, pretty much everything that can take place does.”
Orly recalled an emergency birth that took place entirely in six minutes. “I remember the most dramatic child-birth experience that I had was when I responded to an incident of a woman in the early stages of labor. She was still having early contractions when her husband called for an ambulance. It took me three minutes to arrive and within six minutes of getting there, the baby was born in my arms. Thankfully the mother and baby were both well and a new baby boy was born. It was pretty dramatic how quickly things developed and thank God I was there with another volunteer, otherwise, the husband would have had to deliver his own wife and waited a long time for the ambulance to arrive.”
Orly recounted another incident involving two young men who were involved in a motor vehicle accident. One of the men was driving a car and the other an all-terrain-vehicle ATV. “It was a serious accident involving a young man who was in critical condition. He was transported by helicopter to Rambam Hospital. He was suffering from a serious head condition. The second young man was in serious condition with an open bone fracture. Had we not been there to treat them they would have waited too long for intervention and may not be here today. Currently, they are both recuperating and hopefully will make a full recovery.”
In spite of running her own business, Orly is very thankful to be a volunteer with United Hatzalah and have the opportunity to save lives. “I am very thankful that I entered into this line of volunteering. I believe that anyone who can, should pick up the gauntlet and become a volunteer EMT and first responder, no matter what you do. I have eight children and run my own business and once I had the opportunity to do this I jumped at it. It makes such a difference to those around me, as well as to me and my children and husband as well. The work is so vital and important and it really saves lives. Those who love give to others, and they give to others without expecting anything in return. This is what we do as volunteers in United Hatzalah.”
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