On Friday afternoon a little before 3:00 p.m., an 82-year-old man was found in his home on Hida street in Ashkelon, lying unconscious on the bathroom floor. The man was found by his own son who immediately called United Hatzalah’s dispatch and command center and requested help. The dispatcher began providing instructions to the distraught son who drew his father out of the bathroom to a more accessible place and performed CPR as instructed by the dispatcher.
Menahem Bellalou, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, was heading home when he was alerted to the emergency. He had just finished tending to an occurrence of a person having epilepsy and convulsions and was weary from responding to numerous calls that day already. However, without even a moment of hesitation, Menahem took a detour in the direction of the emergency instead of continuing home to rest and prepare for Shabbat. He was intent on helping others in need.
“Responding to emergency calls has become my life.” said Menahem, “I go from one incident to the next, sometimes up to 4 incidents a day. It makes me happy, keeps me filled with adrenaline, and has become very important to me, so I try to go to as many emergencies as I can and help accordingly.”
Menahem arrived on his ambucycle within 2-and-a-half-minutes from the time that he received the alert. Once at the small street, he put on his sirens to alert the family members of his arrival. They dashed outside to lead him into their house where the man still lay unconscious. The EMT grabbed his medical kit and ran into the house, straight to the patient’s side. Menahem attached the defibrillator and took over performing chest compressions.
Another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, Inna Sharvit, was taking an afternoon nap when she was awakened by the notification of the emergency. Inna dressed quickly and drove in her car to the neighboring street, a minute’s drive away. She pulled up to the house and ran inside, ready to provide help with whatever was needed. Simultaneously, the Intensive Care Unit arrived, and together the team of EMTs and paramedics continued the resuscitation process until the patient’s pulse returned 20 minutes later. The man continued to receive respiratory ventilation with oxygen as he was taken to the hospital in the ambulance for further care.
Inna spoke about her love for being a first responder with United Hatzalah saying, “I love volunteering as an EMT and helping others. Even today, as I was sleeping, I kept my phone on in case of an emergency. I am always willing to wake up for people in need of help and rush to the rescue.” Inna concluded by saying, “It was an amazing feeling to go into Shabbat knowing that I had just helped save a life.”
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