Volunteer EMT Responds to One Emergency Saves Someone Suffering Another
It doesn’t happen very often that an EMT can be called to one medical emergency and save someone involved in another that takes place at the same location. That is exactly what happened to EMT Aaron Lopiansky last Friday. Lopiansky was making final preparations for Shabbat when the United Hatzalah dispatch and command center alerted him to an unconscious person in a special needs facility that was located in a town nearby. Due to his location and the fact that Lopiansky drives an ambucycle, the location system identified Lopiansky as one of the closest responders to the scene.
Lopiansky lives in Kiryat Yearim and the center was located outside of the town. For cars, the drive would take at least 10-minutes due to the winding roads. However, for an ambucycle capable of driving on the more narrow mountain paths, Lopiansky was able to utilize a short-cut through the winding paths of the Judean Hills and was able to arrive on the scene in just 3 minutes.
As he entered the facility, Lopiansky was directed to the dining hall where a woman had choked while eating her lunch. The doctor in residence managed to successfully dislodge the obstruction and the woman was no longer in danger. However, just as the doctor thanked Aaron for responding and was about to cancel the ambulance, a man on the other end of the dining hall began to choke as well! The man quickly began to turn blue in the face as his arms flailed in panic and he gasped for air. Aaron sprinted over, took hold of the man and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the obstruction. The man’s color returned to his face and he began to breathe normally.
Lopiansky, who is married and has four children, has been volunteering with United Hatzalah for five years. He lives in Kiryat Ye’arim and is part of the team of responders who cover the surrounding towns. Lopiansky said that “Throughout the five years that I have been responding to calls on an almost daily basis, I have never encountered a call where I saved someone who developed a medical emergency after I responded to someone else’s at the same location. I’ve gone from one call to another, in a separate location. Concurrent calls are pretty common for ambucycle drivers. But I have never yet responded to two emergencies in the same place for the same reason. That for me is a first.”
Lopiansky reflected on his time as a volunteer EMT first responder with the organization and said that he feels it is a serious responsibility. “I take my volunteering seriously and I particularly value the ability to help people who are not so healthy and need a helping hand. In spite of the constant wear-and-tear that comes from responding to emergency calls on a daily basis for five years, I believe that there is a sense of communal responsibility that helps me to keep heading out to calls and to keep helping people. I’m the guy in town who knows how to do this stuff, so I am going to keep doing it. It is important to be there for others.”