Three weeks ago in Rehovot, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Yinon Dahan, Amit Sinai, Tevel Arbel, and Asher Malka, responded to an emergency call following a cardiac arrest on Shabbat afternoon. Unfortunately, the resuscitation attempt failed, and the patient’s death had to be pronounced at the scene. However, immediately after leaving that distressing scene, they received another call regarding a second cardiac arrest inside the synagogue on the adjacent street.

Making their way swiftly to the scene, they found 70-year-old Avner Barak pulseless and not breathing, after he had collapsed during Mincha (Shabbat afternoon prayer). The EMTs immediately initiated CPR and attached a defibrillator. Following the administration of one electric shock using the AED, Barak regained a pulse. He was later transported to the hospital and following a week in intensive care, he emerged from the hospital fully healthy.

Last week, the EMTs visited Avner and his son at their home. Avner took the opportunity to express his heartfelt appreciation, recounting the day that changed his life.

“On Saturday, June 3, 2023, you were called to the synagogue during Mincha prayer to revive my heart and ‘blow into my nostrils the breath of life’. You provided fast, professional, and life-saving treatment,” Avner said, his voice filled with emotion. “You brought me back to life, to my beloved sons and grandchildren. After a week in intensive care, against all odds, I returned safe and sound to the synagogue, the place where you saved me. My son was moved when they read in the Haftara: ‘You will spare the life of my father…’ (Joshua 2:13), a verse that now takes on an additional meaning for my family. Thank you very much.”

Yinon Dahan, reflecting on the incident, shared his own sentiments, stating, “In my six years of volunteering, I have had the privilege of performing several successful CPRs. However, until now, I never had the opportunity to be in touch with the person and visit them after they have returned to full health, and show them the defibrillator that helped save their lives. It’s an incredibly moving experience.”

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