The Near-Death Experience That Changed My Life

Six years ago Amnon Ben-Yair had a life-altering experience. Amnon nearly died after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was so inspired by the first responders who had arrived so quickly and saved his life that he was determined to do his part to help others. After recovering from his ordeal, Amnon decided that he would train to become a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He enrolled in the next training course available and studied for eight months to become an EMT. For the past three years, Amnon has been responding to calls whenever he can. His wife Liraz, who herself is a volunteer EMT with the organization’s women’s Unit, finished her training just before Amnon and also joined the organization, whose volunteers saved her husband’s life.

Amnon in front of his ambucycle

A few weeks ago, Amnon was alerted by United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center to a medical emergency that involved a factory worker who had lost his balance and slipped off of a ledge. The man had fallen headfirst onto the concrete floor several feet below. Immediately, Amnon flipped on the sirens of his ambucycle and dashed to the scene. The incident had taken place in the Atarot industrial zone, which was not too far away from Amnon’s location.

As Amnon arrived at the scene he met a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who also arrived to help assist with the rescue. The pair of volunteers grabbed their medical equipment and ran to the injured patient. Working together the EMTs administered oxygen and stabilized the patient’s neck and spine. A few minutes later, a United Hatzalah ambulance arrived and Amnon assisted in placing the patient on the stretcher and preparing him for transport to the nearest trauma center.

“Six years ago after I suffered from cardiac arrest I decided to become an EMT myself,” said Amnon. “I wanted to be able to help people as quickly as possible, the same way I needed help. Now I am taking an EMT trainer’s course with the hope that one day I will be able to train others to become EMTs so that they too will be able to save lives as well. I consider this to be a way to pay-it-forward and give to others the same gift that I myself received.”

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