On Monday morning just before 11:00 a.m., a group of pensioners was cycling on a bicycle trail through the woods near Alonim in the Galilee when all of a sudden, one of them, a man in his late 60s suddenly lost consciousness and collapsed in the middle of the ride. Members of the group immediately called emergency services for help and sent one of the riders to the group to the nearest roadway, Highway 7513, to direct the first responders to their trail.

A United Hatzalah ambucyclist responding to an emergency in the Galilee illustration 1 1024x478 1
A United Hatzalah ambucyclist responding to an emergency in the Galilee – (illustration)

Yochai Alfassi was driving from his hometown of Rechasim to the school where he teaches in Migdal Ha’Emek when he received the alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center notifying him that he was the closest responder to the emergency. Yochai, who is a veteran EMT with United Hatzalah, quickly pulled over to the side of the road and began searching the nearby woods for any sign of the riding group. After about a minute he saw a cyclist exit from a dirt path onto the roadway and Yochai signaled him to take him to the scene of the emergency. 


Among the group was a retired doctor, who was carrying a medical kit and defibrillator as per the protocol of the group’s organizers. The retired doctor had just finished attaching the defibrillator after a round of compressions when Yochai arrived and jumped in to assist. After another round of compressions, the defibrillator recommended shocking the collapsed man and the shock was administered. Just then another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, Alon Gabay arrived and joined the effort. The team proceeded to administer CPR for nearly ten minutes before the mobile intensive care ambulance (MICU) showed up. By that point, the doctor had instructed to cease CPR as the patient’s pulse had returned. 


Together with the paramedics from the MICU, the pair of EMTs and the doctor made sure that the patient was stable and then loaded him onto the ambulance for quick transport to the hospital to receive further care.


“Surprisingly, this kind of thing happens fairly often,” Yochai said after the incident was over. “I do this drive almost every day and I often respond to emergencies that take place along the way. Sometimes it is car accidents, other times it is people who have fallen ill. This is the first person who suffered a cardiac arrest while cycling that I have ever treated. Whatever the emergency I am happy to help. I usually take two or three other teachers with me for the ride and they are very supportive of me stopping to help others. They know it happens fairly often and they always tell me to go, even if we have to drive in the opposite direction from our work, and even if it means that they will be late for class, it’s part of the price of our carpool, and they know this, because helping others, and responding to medical emergencies is part of who I am.” 

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