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Choking During Snack Time
On Monday afternoon at around 4:30 p.m., a 3-and-a-half-year-old boy was visiting his grandparents in Beit Shemesh and eating an orange with them in the kitchen when a piece of the fruit got stuck in his throat. His grandparents panicked and tried to help, but as the boy slowly began to turn blue and fade into unconsciousness from a lack of oxygen, they called emergency services for help.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Yechiel Rosenberg and Asaf Truzman were nearby when the call went out. They immediately rushed over and arrived just 40 seconds later. Yechiel said, “We checked the boy’s vitals and found that both his pulse and his breathing were very weak and almost non-existent. We removed whatever food was lodged in his throat, blocking his airway, and also had to tap the boy on the back a few times to force out anything deeper down.”
While Asaf connected a respiratory mask to provide the boy with oxygen, Yechiel kept his fingers constantly on the boy’s pulse to make sure that it was steady, no matter how weak of a pulse it was. After around three minutes of providing breathing assistance, Yechiel felt a stall in the toddler’s pulse, and then none at all. As soon as the pulse dissipated, the EMTs hurriedly moved him to a more accessible place and radioed United Hatzalah dispatch’s center that they would be starting CPR.
After two minutes of chest compressions, an intensive care ambulance arrived, and the EMTs from the ambulance joined the effort to save the boy’s life. Yechiel said, “The boy’s pulse and breathing returned miraculously not long after, although he was still in serious condition. The resuscitation wasn’t long, but there were a number of tense and stressful minutes where I was really worried about the boy.”
Assaf Truzman said after the incident, “The life-saving operations we performed on the young boy miraculously helped him regain a pulse and independent breathing. We were all thankful that the boy was alive. After he was stabilized he was then evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem for further tests and treatment.”
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