On Monday evening, on Reuven Gamzon Street in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem, a young man in his 20s, who is living with cancer was having difficulty breathing. His family called emergency services for help. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center sent out the urgent alert to the closest responders in the area. While the family members were talking to the dispatchers on the phone the man started making gasping sounds and then stopped breathing. That is when United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yehuda Arieli rushed through the door. 

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United Hatzalah ambulance team in Jerusalem (Illustration)


Arieli had been at home just down the street with his wife and three children. The family was getting dinner ready when Arieli received the emergency alert. He quickly recognized the address as being down the street from his house and rushed over. 


When Arieli raced in the door he found the young man lying on a bed with hysterical family members all around screaming for someone to come and help. Arieli performed a quick check of the man’s vital signs and found that he was not breathing and didn’t have a pulse. With the help of the man’s brother, Arieli picked the man up and placed him on the floor in order to begin CPR. Arieli initiated chest compressions and relayed to dispatch that he was administering CPR and required backup as well as a mobile intensive care ambulance. 


Having heard the commotion, and upon seeing Arieli perform compressions, a good-hearted neighbor ran into the room with a defibrillator which Arieli attached. He then continued compressions and the defibrillator did not advise a shock. After that, he was joined by other United Hatzalah volunteers, Dovid Piler, Moshe Landesman, and Eliezer Haas who all joined in the effort to save the man’s life. Seeing how distraught the family was, the volunteers aptly called for help from the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to come and assist the family in processing the emotional turmoil that they were experiencing as a result of the CPR. 


The group of EMTs rotated between performing compressions and assisted breathing while waiting to hear if the defibrillator recommended administering any shocks. Approximately 10 minutes later, a mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and assisted in stabilizing the patient. 


Arieli spoke about the incident after the fact. “It took about 30 minutes but we managed to get the young man’s pulse back. The family was so thankful when we did. They couldn’t stop expressing their joy. We stabilized him and then put him on a backboard to be taken to the hospital. His pulse was stable and strong, but he wasn’t yet breathing on his own, so the ambulance staff continued providing assisted ventilation while en route.” 


“There is no way to describe the feeling that I get after I’ve saved someone’s life,” Arieli said. “It is a tremendous sense of satisfaction knowing that you have brought a person back from the brink of death. It gives me so much strength to keep moving forward and to continue to volunteer in order to help people. This isn’t the first time I have had the opportunity to save a life and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Every emergency I respond to is important and the fact that I go and can help people is for me the greatest thing in the world.  Thank you to this wonderful organization for giving me the opportunity to save lives.  

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