Last Saturday afternoon a young Arab man was attacked in the Ein el-Maghara neighborhood of Umm al-Fahm, an Arab town that lies just south of Afula in northern Israel. The man was shot several times and seriously injured by unknown gunmen.

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Sanaa visiting Hamzeh in HaEmek hospital

United Hatzalah volunteer Sanaa Mahameed, who lives in Umm al-Fahm, was alerted to the scene and immediately rushed to treat the injured man. The man, Hamzeh Mahameed (no relation) aged 21, was driving his car when he was attacked late Saturday afternoon. Sanaa stopped his bleeding, bandaged his wounds and then proceeded to wait for 30 minutes until an ambulance arrived to take him to HaEmek Medical Center in Afula.

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Scene from the gunshot incident in Umm al-Fahm

“He had suffered three gunshot wounds to his upper body and sustained injuries to his chest and neck. I bandaged him, provided him with oxygen and opened an I.V. to give him fluids,” said Sanaa, who has been volunteering with United Hatzalah for more than two years and was the first female religious Muslim to do so.  


Three days later, Sanaa received a call from Hamzeh’s mother thanking her profusely for saving her son. Thanks to Sanaa’s quick intervention, Hamzeh had made it through surgery and doctors said that they expected him to make a full recovery. Hamzeh’s mother invited Sanaa to the hospital to visit her son. “I was overjoyed by the invitation. It isn’t every day that I get a phone call thanking me for saving their son’s life and I wanted to go to the hospital to see how he was doing.”


Sanaa took the family up on the invitation and on Wednesday, visited Hamzeh and his family at the hospital. “They kept thanking me for what I had done, but for me, it was the most natural thing in the world. I heard about the incident and I went to help without thinking twice about it. That is what I am trained to do and that is what I always do,” Sanaa said.

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Sanaa with Hamzeh and his mother

Hamzeh thanked Sanaa personally for saving his life. “If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be here right now. There is no way to say thank you enough. I am so happy that we have an EMT like you in our city to help us and protect us when we need it,” Hamzeh told Sanaa during the emotional meeting.


Hamzeh’s mother relayed that her son had gone through multiple difficult surgeries and the doctors had told her that had Hamzeh not received medical assistance from Sanaa when he did, then he would not be alive.


“I am so happy that this young man has another chance at life,” said Sanaa. “Stories like this are the reason I do what I do.” Sanaa has begun training to join the United Hatzalah’s ambucycle unit and hopes to be able to do so in the near future.