Two months ago, a family was sitting in their home in Haifa on Friday night for their Shabbat meal. Everything was carrying on as normal until the mother noticed that her 4-year-old son was having trouble breathing. She asked her son if he was ok, but his breathing only worsened as his face grew pale. The child had a severe allergy to hummus, but the mother was certain that none of the food she had prepared contained any hummus. The child’s parents were not sure whether to use the Epipen they had or not. That’s when the father called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command center for help.
Eli Guedj, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, was in his home in Haifa when his communications device alerted him to the emergency occurring just a few blocks away. Arriving at the scene in just under five minutes, Eli entered the given apartment and found the choking child with his parents.
Judging by the color of the child’s face and his swelling tongue, Eli understood that this was a case of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Eli, a father of four, some of whom suffer from a lethal allergy to milk products, immediately knew what to do.
Eli took the Epipen from the father’s hand and injected a dose of epinephrine into the child’s leg. After a minute, the child began breathing again, just before the ambulance arrived to take the boy to the hospital for further treatment.
“It was lucky that I have experience with anaphylaxis reactions,” Eli commented. “The parents did not know if it was right to use the Epipen, and the child could have died waiting for the ambulance. My advice to parents everywhere is to always triple check what their children, who suffer from allergies, are eating, and of course, always make sure that they carry an Epipen with them. You can never be too cautious, and it is a matter of life or death.”
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