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From Quarantine To Watermelon Rescues – An EMT Saving Lives After Being Exposed to Covid-19
Gilad Auerbach is a veteran United Hatzalah volunteer EMT from Kiryat Malachi in southern Israel. In mid-July, Gilad had entered a period of voluntary self-quarantine, after he was exposed to a fellow first responder who later tested positive for Covid-19 Coronavirus. The EMT wound up spending several days in isolation away from his family at United Hatzalah’s regional volunteer center in Sderot. Gilad was overwhelmed by the generosity he experienced all the while, as fellow volunteers brought food, drinks, and gifts, to make his stay as comfortable as possible.
The day after his period of quarantine finally ended, Gilad was back in action with his ambucycle and responded to multiple emergencies. The first incident occurred when a 70-year-old man tripped and fell on the stairs, sustaining a serious head injury, near Gilad’s home. Gilad rushed to the scene aboard his ambucycle and dashed up to the third floor. He arrived at the scene of the incident in less than three minutes alongside a fellow United Hatzalah EMT.
The duo applied a trauma bandage to the man in order to stem the heavy bleeding and carefully monitored the man’s vital signs as they reassured concerned onlookers. It took 40 long minutes for an ambulance crew to join them at the scene. When the ambulance finally arrived, Gilad and his colleagues immobilized the gentleman on a backboard and carried the patient down the narrow stairwell to the awaiting emergency vehicle. He was then evacuated to the Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod for further definitive care.
In another call later that day, Gilad had just returned home when his United Hatzalah communication device sounded alerting him to another trauma in the nearby town of Moshav Segulah. United Hatzalah’s dispatch was alerting him to an injured farmworker in the fields surrounding the farming community. Without hesitation, Gilad jumped back onto his ambucycle and followed the device’s navigation app towards the designated coordinates. After traversing two and a half miles of unpaved paths through the village’s agricultural fields, Gilad found a group of farmhands huddling around their injured colleague.
The wounded worker was sitting in an open field without any protection from the hot summer sun. Gilad pulled out an emergency blanket from his medical kit and Instructed the other workers to provide shade while he took the injured man’s vital signs and examined the victim’s swollen arm for signs of trauma.
The patient didn’t speak Hebrew, so the man’s employer translated between Gilad and his patient. Apparently the man had been picking watermelons when he suddenly felt a sharp, stinging sensation in his arm. Gilad treated the injury site, immobilizing the man’s arm and prepping the patient for medical transport. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later and loaded the foreign worker aboard for evacuation to a regional medical center.
As he was cleaning up and grabbing his medic bag, Gilad was approached by the worker’s gracious employer who thanked him for his quick response and insisted that he take with him a freshly picked watermelon. Returning home, Gilad retreated into the air conditioning and enjoyed the refreshing fruit.
“It was a very full day of lifesaving. The call at Moshav Segulah took place during the hottest part of the day out in a field with no shade. Treating the farmer with my jacket and helmet still on after the ride on dusty roads made the incident more difficult. We also were not sure what had bitten him. There were no obvious marks from a snake or a centipede. Regardless of all of the external factors, I was happy to be able to be there and provide the farmer, a foreign worker, with the care he needed.”
Commenting on his time in isolation Obach said: “Isolation, especially when one is away from their own family as well as their community is difficult. I am so thankful that my United Hatzalah community stepped in to help me during my time of isolation. I am even happier to be done with isolation, healthy, and able to go back out and respond to medical emergencies and help others. It is something that I really missed while I was in isolation.”
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