On Monday morning, one of the most inspiring medical emergencies that can happen took place on Highway 4 just outside of the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel. A husband and wife were on their way to the hospital in order to deliver their fourth child. The woman was in active labor. As this was e fourth birth, time was of the essence as it was unclear how long the labor would last. While the hospital was not too far away in terms of distance the traffic was another thing entirely.

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A United Hatzalah volunteer holding a baby that she assisted in delivering in a car. (Illustration)

The baby decided that its time had come to enter the world while the parents were still on the Highway. Her husband pulled the car over to the side of the road and called for help.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs live a life where they are always on call and ready to respond to any medical emergency as soon as the siren goes off on their personal communication devices. Any time of day or night, these volunteers, who form a nationwide network of more than 6,000 fully trained medical first responders, will drop whatever they are doing and rush to help someone in need of medical attention, and they do it for free.

While many of them have been responding for years, most of them have never shared in the joy of assisting in the delivery of a baby. On Monday, two volunteers, both of whom are veteran responders, got their first opportunity to do so.

Laura Zohar and Chagit Bitton, who were both in close proximity to the birth-in-progress while it was taking place, rushed over to the location given to them by dispatch and found the woman in the advanced stages of labor inside the car.

Bitton relayed: “I was home in the town of Nitzan when I received the call. I work from home these days so I am there a lot. It took me less than 4 minutes to arrive and find the car with the woman giving birth. When I arrived at the vehicle, the woman was in the advanced stages of labor and I had enough time to prepare the surrounding for the baby’s arrival and then receive the baby. I instructed the mother to give a few last pushes and then I received a beautiful baby girl into my hands. I cleaned the baby and allowed the father, who had been coaching his wife up until I arrived, to cut the umbilical cord. The birth went smoothly thank God. The baby was healthy and had an APGAR score of 10. The ambulance arrived ten minutes after the baby was delivered. Once the mother and baby were on the ambulance on the way to the hospital, I headed back home with a great feeling.”

Zohar also spoke about the incident: “When I arrived, Chagit was already finishing with the delivery. I helped clean the child and make sure that everything was okay. I wrapped up the baby and brought it into the ambulance to the staff there. After that, we assisted the mother and helped her through the rest of the process, and brought her to the ambulance as well. They were then transported to Assuta Hospital in Ashdod in good condition. This was the first time I have ever assisted in a delivery, aside from helping my sister in the hospital when she had her children, but I was more of a spectator for that one.”

Bitton concluded: “I was s pleased that I was able to arrive quickly and assist the family. I’ve been volunteering for a few years now, and this is the first time I was present to assist in delivering a baby. To do so in the middle of the highway is even rarer. This family will certainly have an interesting story to tell. For me, this was a truly meaningful way to start my day.”

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