United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shahak Barel lives in the city of Akko. On Wednesday afternoon at around 3:15 p.m., as he was resting on his living room sofa after a hard day of work, he heard his emergency communication device ring alerting him to a nearby medical emergency. 

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Shahak with his ambucycle

A 60-year-old woman had collapsed unconscious on the sidewalk of HaNadiv Street not far from Shahak’s home and required immediate medical attention. Shahak jumped up and headed out to his ambucycle. He practically flew the whole way there, arriving at the scene in a short minute.

When Shahak dismounted from his ambucycle, he saw the woman lying on the floor with a kind-hearted and concerned passerby performing chest compressions on her. Shahak connected a defibrillator and took over the CPR efforts. Two shocks from the defibrillator were administered and the EMT continued the process with chest compressions.

About 5 minutes into the resuscitation, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Lipaz Hatual arrived at the scene and joined the CPR effort. A few minutes later, the patient’s pulse returned and she started to breathe independently. As they transferred her into the ambulance around 15 minutes later, the woman regained full consciousness.

“It’s rare for a patient to regain full consciousness after a CPR, so we were all pleasantly surprised when this woman did,” said Shahak after the incident. “Being a United Hatzalah volunteer has been an incredibly rewarding experience. There are definitely times when it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and help someone else, but I know how important it is so I always try to push myself even when it is hard.”

On Thursday, Shahak visited the patient in the hospital to see how she was recovering. The woman’s son was also there, thrilled to meet his mother’s rescuer. He was incredibly thankful to Shahak for saving his mother’s life and for his devotion to saving the lives of others. 

“The woman was excited to see me and it was very touching,” said Shahak after their meeting in the hospital, “She is slowly, slowly, getting better and will hopefully be released from the hospital soon.” 

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