At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Itai Strominger was eating dinner with his family in their home in Be’er Milka. At the same time, a man in his 30’s was riding on his electric bicycle near the Nitzana Junction on Route 211 when he was hit by a passing bus on the dark roadway.
As bystanders called for help, Itai was immediately notified about the accident by United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command center and his emergency communication device sounded its familiar alarm. Itai quickly got up from the table and apologized to his wife and child whom he was leaving at home so that he could respond to the accident and provide medical attention to the injured man. He quickly put on his jacket, pulled on his gloves, and rushed out.
8 minutes after the alert went off Itai had arrived at the scene, just ahead of an ambulance that was also dispatched. Itai rushed over to the wounded patient lying on the side of the road, next to his battered bike.
Itai saw that the bus’s windshield had been shattered from the force of the impact with the rider leaving a spider-web-like circle in the glass. Upon seeing this, Itai realized the severity of the situation, realizing that the cyclist likely suffered a serious head injury, possible internal injuries, and spinal cord injury. The man was in a state of impaired consciousness, his eyes were open but he was not fully aware or conscious, signs that he likely suffered a severe concussion at the very least.
Itai started treatment right away along with the help of the EMTs from the ambulance stabilizing the patient’s head and neck to prevent further and more serious injuries. The patient also had many serious abrasions all over his body, which would be treated later, once he arrived at the hospital.
Due to the seriousness of the man’s condition, time was of the essence. The patient needed to be treated and transported to the hospital as quickly as possible so that he could receive the proper care.
With the closest hospital being in Be’er Sheva, a 50-minute drive away, Itai and the team requested an emergency helicopter evacuation, and a few minutes later the chopper arrived to transport the man to Soroka Medical Center. Itai and the paramedics secured the man to a stretcher and loaded him onto the helicopter as soon as it arrived.
“This road is extremely dangerous for cyclists. Serious accidents like this one have already occurred in the past,” Itai said. “On Route 211, many people are constantly riding their bicycles to get from one neighborhood to the next. There is no designated bicycle lane where they can ride safely, so they ride on the side of the road. It is extremely dangerous to do so, especially at night when it is difficult for drivers to see the riders.”
Itai urged, “For the safety of our citizens, we must undertake a new project to pave a route for the bikers. I want to get this message out there because as a United Hatzalah volunteer, I find importance in keeping others safe. A designated path for the bikers on Route 211, can and will save lives.”
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