On Sunday afternoon just after 3:30 p.m., a seven-month-old baby choked on some food that she was eating. Her worried mother, knowing that her own sister-in-law is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT called her and asked for help. 

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Sanaa Mahameed, was driving her ambucycle through the city when she received the call from her own sister-in-law pleading for help. She quickly flicked on her lights and sirens and sped to the address given, while updating United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center regarding the emergency. 

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Sanaa performs measured back blows on the baby

Within less than a minute, Sanaa arrived at her brother’s home and took the young baby, her own niece, from the worried mother’s arms. Sanaa noticed that the baby was quickly losing consciousness and, without wasting a moment, placed the baby face down in her arms while cradling the baby’s head and administered a series of measured back blows. After a few back blows, a piece of food flew out of the baby’s mouth and the baby began to breathe once again. 

“I joined United Hatzalah and became an EMT because I witnessed my own uncle die when I was a teenager simply because help did not arrive in time. I cannot express how thankful I am that I was able to be there to save my niece. This hits home for me in many ways. I think it is important that everyone learn what to do in case of an emergency occurring. They can happen anyplace and to anyone and we need to know how to help so that we can save the lives of our friends, our neighbors, people in our community, and even people in our own families. Had I known then what I know now, I may have been able to save my uncle. Thankfully, our family did not experience another tragedy today and I can still play with my happy and beautiful niece.” 

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