On Sunday afternoon, near the Ramat Hadar neighborhood in Givat Shmuel, the life of a 78-year-old man was saved after his neighbors called emergency services after they couldn’t contact the man and hadn’t seen him for over a day. When United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yuda Widawsky, received the alert, he was in the middle of doing his taxes. He quickly dropped the paperwork, rushed to his rapid response vehicle, and drove over to the given address. “The alert I received was one of a suspicion for a danger to human life, which on most occasions tends to be trivial medical issues, but every now and then it can be something serious, which in this case it was,” explained Widawsky.
When he arrived on the scene a few moments later, Widawsky noted that the patient’s car was in the driveway, signifying that the patient was at home, but there was no response when he knocked on the door or rang the bell. “This raised red flags in my mind that the situation was serious,” Widawsky said. A locksmith was called and was in the process of unlocking the door. After entering the apartment, Yuda noticed that the patient was trapped in the bathroom, it seemed like he had been stuck for a day. He had fallen and was stuck between the door and the sink cabinet. “On my initial assessment it appeared that the patient was deceased already, based on his color and lack of responsiveness,” Widawsk described. “After calling for backup and an MICU (Mobile intensive care unit) I did a secondary assessment and saw that the patient was indeed breathing, although faintly. The patient’s head had gotten trapped right in between the door and the sink when he fell. This was a larger man and one that I couldn’t get out of the bathroom. I told the locksmith that we needed to dismantle the door in order to extricate the patient and remove the pressure from his head. Together we took apart the door which relieved the pressure and allowed the man’s blood to once again flow as normal.”
Widawsky continued. “I couldn’t yet move him on my own and needed to wait for additional responders to be able to lift and move the man to a more spacious area where we could treat him. United Hatzalah volunteers EMT Antony Wilik, together with EMT trainee Aviel Eddie arrived a few minutes after Widawsky and joined him to remove the patient from the bathroom and get him on his back in a supine position. This allowed the patient to breathe better. “After a few moments lying down the patient, who was unconscious when I arrived, began to respond to pain, and then slowly to verbal commands, however, this was very hard for the patient as he was very weak and barely breathing. His blood pressure was very low, and he was in unstable condition while being treated.” The EMTs treated the patient for multi-system trauma at the scene before he was transported to the hospital for definitive care.
A neighbor who witnessed some of these events to Yuda: “You got there just in the nick of time. If he (the patient) would have been stuck any longer, he would have died”
On Monday morning Yuda followed up on the patient’s progress and learned that the man was receiving medical care for a variety of issues caused by the prolonged paralysis due to being stuck after the fall. “The important takeaway for me from this rescue is that it is always important to think on one’s feet when responding to an emergency. Sometimes, thinking outside the box in a critical moment can change the entire outcome as it did here. Had we not arrived when we did and worked quickly to get the man out of the predicament he was in, the story might have ended tragically.”