On Tuesday afternoon, an elderly woman eating lunch suddenly choked on a bagel in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sanhedria Murhevet. Family members quickly notified emergency services.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Chaim Horowitz had just returned home after picking up his kids from daycare when he received the notification on his communications device. Jumping on his rapid-response e-bike, he rushed to the scene, arriving within 90 seconds together with United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Yaakov Bollag and Chananya Itzkowich.

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United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Chaim Horowitz and Yaakov Bollag on an ambulance shift

The EMTs entered the house to find the woman choking and not breathing; her face was turning blue. Itzkowich began administering the Heimlich maneuver, while Bollag and Horowitz supported the patient, who was elderly and couldn’t stand. After a few thrusts, something came out of her mouth, but after a quick check, they realized that she was still choking and couldn’t breathe. Bollag continued administering the Heimlich maneuver while Horowitz and Itzkowitch tried to clear the airway.

Gradually, small pieces became dislodged, and using a suction device, the EMTs managed to partially clear the patient’s airway. Slowly, she began breathing again and color returned to her face. However, as the EMTs were assessing her situation, they recognized that she still wasn’t breathing adequately. Horowitz gave the patient oxygen while Bollag and Itzkowich administered assisted ventilations until she was able to breathe adequately on her own. The team continued to administer oxygen and monitor the patient as she slowly regained consciousness.

Shortly afterward, the Advanced Life Support Ambulance team arrived. The paramedic intubated the patient and transported her to Hadassah Har Hatzofim Hospital for further care.

“It was worth every second to be a part of saving someone’s life,” reflected Horowitz. “To save a life is the most important thing a Jew can do.”

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United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Chananya Itzkowich

“It’s really an amazing feeling to save a life,” said Itzkowich. “It gives me all the strength, encouragement, and purpose to continue responding to save lives.”