On Sunday night, three individuals who suffered cardiac arrests in separate incidents were reunited with the United Hatzalah volunteers who saved their lives as part of a special event celebrating the lifesaving work of volunteers from the Carmel region of the organization that took place in Kiryat Ata. In attendance at the event were MKs Ofir Sofer, Idit Silman, and Yinon Azulai.
The first of the trio to arrive was a man named Moshe Ben Yishai, who was rescued by Naftali Rotenberg, head of United Hatzalah’s Carmel chapter, two years ago just as the holiday of Simchat Torah was ending. Rotenberg responded to the cardiac arrest emergency where Moshe had collapsed and provided Moshe with 15 shocks from a defibrillator that had been attached by an intensive care crew that arrived at the scene after Naftali had started performing chest compressions. In between two of the shocks, Moshe, who didn’t know the United Hatzalah EMT, regained consciousness for a short period of time and yelled: “Naftali, give me a kiss”. He then lost consciousness and was revived once more. Moshe has since made a full recovery and is now healthy. On Sunday night, he was reunited with Naftali for the first time since the incident. “Thank you so much,” Moshe said, “I’m the one who needs to kiss you now, words cannot express my appreciation for what you have done.”
The emotion was even more palpable as the event carried on when volunteer EMT Haim Gitter was reunited with a man that he had revived on the 22nd of May this year. The man had suffered a cardiac arrest while working in the cowshed of Kibbutz Yagur. His coworkers alerted emergency services and Haim, who is a resident of the kibbutz and works on the farm, received the emergency alert and sped to the cowshed on his ambucycle. There he found the man pulseless and not breathing. Chaim immediately initiated CPR, attached a defibrillator, and administered the shock which was recommended by the device. Miraculously, the man regained full consciousness and even said: “Chaim, what are you doing here?”. The pair were seen hugging each other during Sunday night’s event.
Another man, Yitzchak Mizrahi, broke out in tears upon meeting the EMTs who saved his life last month. Yitzchak told them: “God bless you, you are tzadikim (righteous people), I cannot thank you enough for bringing me back to life.” At the time that Yitzchak suffered a cardiac arrest, Avraham and Gitti Berman, a Hasidic couple from Haifa who are both United Hatzalah volunteers, were enjoying the third Shabbat meal in a synagogue in Kiryat Ata when Gitti saw Naftali Rotenberg, medical gear on his back, passing by the entrance of the synagogue. She asked him what was happening and Naftali informed her that he was responding to a case of cardiac arrest in the neighborhood. Gitti immediately rushed her husband out of the synagogue and the three of them ran to the building where Yitzchak had collapsed.
After going up 6 flights of stairs, they were rushed into an apartment where they found Yitzchak, in his 70s, lying in his shower, unconscious and not breathing. Addressing the audience at the gala, Naftali recounted the dramatic moments: “I yelled to Avraham and Gitti to take out and attach the defibrillator. We took Yitzhak out of the shower, gently laid him on the floor of the salon, and dried him. We then started CPR and attached the defibrillator, which recommended a shock. After the first shock was administered we started another round of chest compressions until the defibrillator recommended a second shock. After the second shock was administered, Yitzchak gasped, regained a pulse, and started breathing again. An intensive care ambulance that had arrived during the resuscitation efforts then transported him to the hospital.”
“After the incident, I tried to obtain information from the hospital about Yitzchak’s condition and I was told that he was intubated and sedated,” Naftali added. “I thought that he would survive but remain severely handicapped for the rest of his life, as is sometimes the case when CPR is successful in resuscitating an en elderly person. Last Thursday, I was told that he was already walking, and I’m extremely moved to see him with us tonight, alive and well.”
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