On Tuesday evening, at 6:00 p.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Haim Volis had just returned to his home in Bnei Brak after a long day at work. As Haim untied his shoelaces and relaxed on the couch, his communications device suddenly alerted him to a nearby medical emergency. A few blocks away from Haim’s home, an 82-year-old woman with numerous chronic diseases suddenly lost consciousness in the old age home where she resided. The home’s nurse rushed to help and asked a staff member to urgently call United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center for backup.

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United Hatzalah volunteers responding to an emergency in Bnei Brak – (Illustration)

Haim had just recently finished his training period, and in the short time he has been a fully-fledged volunteer, this was the fourth emergency requiring CPR that he responded to. Unfortunately, the three previous CPR efforts were unsuccessful. This time, Haim was determined to do everything he could to come away with a different outcome this time.


Haim threw his shoes back on, grabbed his medical bag, and jumped on his bike. The given address was unclear, and so when Haim spotted an additional United Hatzalah volunteer heading toward the old age home nearby, Haim joined him, and the two arrived together, in under 90 seconds. 


The two EMTs, who arrived first at the scene, located the unconscious woman and the assisting nurse. The octogenarian has a history of cardiac arrests as well as other medical issues. Haim quickly took over chest compressions from the nurse as the second EMT attached his defibrillator. The three medical personnel worked in tandem, doing everything they could to save the woman’s life. 


The defibrillator did not advise a shock, and so the trio continued in chest compressions and assisted ventilation until a paramedic arrived at the scene. After several minutes of CPR, the paramedic asked Haim to stop and told him that the team had managed to bring back the patient’s pulse. 


The team continued administering assisted ventilation and monitored the woman’s condition closely. A few moments later, the woman’s pulse suddenly dropped, and the team responded by reinitiating compressions. As the CPR effort progressed, additional ambulance teams and medical personnel began to arrive at the scene and lend a hand in the effort to revive the woman. 


Once the trained paramedics and more experienced EMTs took over, Haim stayed at the scene to observe the woman’s condition, and to see how the CPR continued so that he could continue learning what to do and what not to do. 


After close to an hour, the patient’s pulse was finally stabilized, and she was transferred carefully to a mobile intensive care ambulance to be taken to the nearest hospital for further care and observation. 


“I became an EMT so I could care for my elderly father, who is 70-years-old,” said Haim. “When the paramedic told me that the patient’s pulse returned after my compressions, I felt incredible inside. I just became an EMT, and this was my first successful CPR, I couldn’t be happier. There’s a feeling you get when you save a life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


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