On Sunday night, just after 11:00 p.m., a man in his 50s in Be’er Sheva who had been feeling ill, asked his wife and son to take him to an urgent care clinic. While on the way, the man suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of an intersection on Eliyahu Nawi Street right near the Big shopping complex. A police officer who had been on duty at the intersection saw the family’s vehicle pull over and came to investigate. Upon finding the man unconscious, he called for emergency services to help and initiated CPR after taking the man out of his vehicle.  

A few minutes prior to the incident occurring, Chen Nohar a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, had just gotten home after responding to a number of medical emergencies that took place towards the end of the fast of Tisha B’av. Just as he was parking his ambucycle at the bottom of his building, he received an emergency alert to a man suffering respiratory problems. Without even heading upstairs to his family, he got back on his ambucycle and rushed out to the emergency. When he arrived at the given address, an air raid siren sounded as a huge barrage of rockets was launched from the Gaza Strip at Be’er Sheva and the surrounding area. 

United Hatzalah volunteers treating a collapsed man at night Illustration 1024x485 2
United Hatzalah teams treat a collapsed man at night – (illustration)

Chen, together with Moshe Bitton, another United Hatzalah ambucycle volunteer who had also arrived at the emergency, ran inside the building to a protected area until the all-clear sounded a few minutes later. By the time they were able to exit the protected area, a mobile intensive care ambulance had pulled up. After making sure that the ambulance team was fully staffed and equipped, Chen and Moshe left the ambulance team to care for the first patient while they headed out to another nearby emergency that occurred when a man fell while running for shelter from the rockets. 

However, before they could arrive, the pair of first responders received the alert of the unconscious man on Eliyahu Nawi Street. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center directed the pair to respond to the unconscious man due to their proximity and directed other responders to the person with the light injury. 

Chen and Moshe arrived a minute later on Eliyahu Nawi Street. Moshe relieved the police officer and took over performing compressions while Chen quickly attached a defibrillator. “The defibrillator advised a shock and I administered it,” Chen recounted after the incident. “It was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. After just one shock the man’s pulse returned to a steady rate and a moment later he began breathing on his own. The man even began to regain consciousness, all before the ambulance arrived.” 

“The night was certainly one that I will remember for a while due to a number of reasons,” Chen added. “Responding to emergencies under rocket fire and reviving a person by doing a successful CPR in mere seconds are not things that I am used to. It was a very special way to save a life. I checked in on the man today in the hospital today, and after undergoing surgery to alleviate the causes of his cardiac arrest, the man is fully awake and talking with his doctors. It was an incredible save and one that will stay with me for a long time.” 

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