Last Friday at 12:51 P.M. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Ezra Gottlieb was in a supermarket in his hometown of Beitar Illit making his last-minute purchases for Shabbat when United Hatzalah’s dispatch and command center alerted him to a choking child near his location. Without hesitating for even a moment, Ezra left his groceries in the shopping cart, and without even waving at the shocked cashier, the dedicated volunteer dashed out of the store hopped on his ambucycle and rushed to the nearby address, arriving in just 30 seconds.

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A United Hatzalah ambucycle (illustration)

Ezra grabbed his medical bag and ran up the stairs taking them three at a time until he was inside the apartment. When he opened the door he found a frantic couple holding their 15-month-old boy, who was coughing and gasping for breath. Ezra swiftly scooped up the child, turned him on his back and examined his airway. Seeing some light reflecting from inside the boy’s throat, the experienced EMT carefully and skillfully reached into the boy’s mouth and grabbed ahold of the shiny object. 

Ezra proficiently extracted the obstruction which turned out to be a candy wrapper.  Instantly, the tiny child gulped in large breaths of fresh air. Seconds later the boy was breathing normally.  The crisis was over! 

The cautious medic took the boy’s vital signs and found everything within the normal range.  Less than a minute later, the happy & babbling young child didn’t even seem to remember the dramatic incident that had just occurred. As their child now was back to his normal, happy, and healthy self, the father canceled the ambulance even before it arrived.

The parents, who were overcome with relief and joy, could not stop praising Ezra who had so quickly come to their son’s rescue, just in the nick of time.

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