This wasn’t a typical medical emergency alert that I usually get. As a matter of fact, there was no alert. Call it what you will, divine intervention, comedy of errors, sheer luck, karma. But whatever you want to call it, the important thing is that a man’s life was saved in a miraculous and unique way. For some of those who are people of faith, you might just call it a miracle.
On Tuesday, just after 2:00 p.m., I was on my way to conduct a coronavirus test for a number of people in a town located near Mazkeret Batya. I left my house in Ramat Gan and told the people at my destination that I was on my way.
While driving, I realized that I was missing the stickers that needed to be put on the tests in order to properly label which test was for which patient. After consulting with a professional in the field, I decided to purchase additional stickers on the way to the town where I was to conduct the testing. So far so good.
I put into WAZE the name of the store that I needed to get the stickers, and without paying attention to which city it was sending me to, I simply clicked on the first option that came up. 10 kilometers were added to my trip. I didn’t fight it and just drove, following the directions that WAZE told me as if something was drawing me to that location.
After a few minutes, I started to feel that the navigation app was sending me back in the direction which I had previously come from. It certainly was no longer “on the way” to where I needed to go.
I arrived at the store and found stickers that were appropriate for the test labels. I am already used to getting compliments for my purple hair, so when the cashier gave me another one I politely smiled, paid for the stickers, and headed back to my car.
When I got into my car, it took me no less than ten minutes to get out of the dirt parking lot that I had parked in. What took me two seconds to get into became a nightmare of turning my steering wheel back and forth in an effort to get around a car that had blocked me in. Just as I was pulling out of the spot, finally, another car appeared attempting to get into my spot. I had to get out of my car to help that drive backup in order for me to finally be able to leave.
Finally, I was free. I felt exhausted from the numerous attempts to leave the parking lot. I pulled the car over and stopped for a moment in order to organize the testing kits with the stickers before I headed out.
I pulled over. I stopped. Apparently not by chance.
Three seconds after I had stopped my vehicle an older man, in his mid-80s stepped directly in front of my car. He had left the same store that I had been in earlier. He tripped and hit the edge of the curb. He had been carrying a glass which he had purchased moments ago in the store. The glass broke sharply and sliced his arm. Blood began to spurt out from his sliced arm at an alarming rate and form a puddle on the asphalt.
Witnesses who saw the man fall bean to shoot for help. The man who had fallen saw his arm bleeding began to grow pale and was helpless to stop the blood flow. Everyone seemed to freeze. They just stood frozen shooting and screaming for someone to help. No one moved.
No one that is, except for one person.
I didn’t have any medical equipment with me in the car. But this man’s life was in danger and it needed to be saved. With blood flow that intense, the man could bleed out and lose consciousness in seconds. Immediate action was needed. I remembered that I had a roll of paper towel in the glove compartment. I grabbed it and jumped out of the car and over to the man. I shoved a whole wad of the paper towel against his arm and applied direct and strong pressure on the site of the wound. After a moment, the blood flow lessened and after another moment, it almost ceased entirely.
The man’s color slowly began to return to his face. I was not wearing anything that identified me as a first responder or medical personnel, so I introduced myself and told him that I am a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah and an ambulance driver and that I saw the incident happen directly in front of me. “I’m here with you, together. You will be okay,” I told the man who otherwise looked helpless. “I am not going to leave until you are taken car of and on the way to the hospital,” I reassured him.
The man gave me a faint smile. With my free hand, I got my phone and called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center and told them about the incident and asked for them to send other responders and an ambulance. I explained the severity of the issue and within seconds additional help was on the way.
The few short minutes that I was holding the man’s hand until other help arrived seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t let go, or even move, as the slightest movement may reopen the man’s wound and cause it to bleed profusely once more. A few minutes went by and the ambulance finally arrived.
An emergency field dressing was applied, the type that was able to completely stop the bleed, and the man was rushed into the ambulance and whisked off to the operating room in the hospital.
I let out a deep breath and sighed. That moment I was filled with a sense of satisfaction. I understood that it wasn’t by chance that I got sent to conduct coronavirus tests today in an unusual manner. Nor was it by chance that I was out of the necessary stickers for the test, or that WAZE directed me to this store which was well out of my way. It wasn’t by chance that I was stuck in a parking lot for 10 minutes.
By chance? No. It wasn’t by chance.
I saved the man’s telephone number. I hope to go and visit him in the hospital tomorrow morning and find out how he is doing.
This is my story and the story of so many other volunteers from United Hatzalah who happen to be in the right place at the right time to save a life on a regular basis.
- – Dvir Adani, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, ambulance driver, and Coronavirus tester.
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