Early Sunday morning at around 1:00 a.m., a man in his 70s collapsed in his home on Har Boker Street. The man’s son called emergency services for help when he found his father unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse. He immediately started performing CPR, not willing to wait even a minute before a trained EMT could arrive, fearful that it would be too late.

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United Hatzalah volunteer Yair Abelson

Yair Abelson, a United Hatzalah volunteer from Be’er Sheva was watching television with his wife, who is also a United Hatzalah EMT, when he was notified of the unconscious man in need of help. Yair immediately jumped up and sped away in his car to the given address. He arrived within 3 minutes of receiving the alert together with a mobile intensive care ambulance that happened to be nearby. The team of life-savers grabbed their emergency equipment and rushed inside the man’s house.

Yair replaced the exhausted son and took over performing chest compressions while the paramedic from the ambulance attached a heart monitor and inserted an IV line in order to administer the appropriate medications. They noticed that the man had an abnormal heart rhythm seemingly caused by the cardiac arrest so the paramedic administered a shock from the heart monitor and Yair continued with the resuscitation procedure. Twice during their process, the patient’s pulse returned, however, both times it vanished almost immediately and was replaced by an abnormal heart rhythm.

After 10 shocks from the heart monitor and continued medication, the 70-year-old man still lay unconscious and pulseless on the floor of his home. Yair and the paramedic connected a Lucas mechanical chest compression device and evacuated the patient in the ambulance to the Soroka Medical Center where the hospital staff could continue the CPR efforts. Once in the hospital, the man’s pulse finally returned and he was able to breathe independently.

After being asked why he became a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, Yair said, “I became a volunteer in order to save lives. I don’t do this for any other reason than to help others. I strongly believe in the importance of doing acts of kindness and helping people in need. I further believe that all first responders are doing sacred work, especially those who are a part of this organization.”

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