My name is Chagit Biton, I live in Kiryat Malachi and I make wigs for a living. Thank G-d I have 8 children. Five years ago, my daughter Shaina was born with a severe case of epilepsy. Aside from when she is studying in a special educational facility, I have to be by her side around the clock. A few years ago, her episodes were so intense and so frequent that I decided I needed to train to become an EMT so that I could know how to treat her. I took a training course with United Hatzalah and have since been volunteering as a first responder with the organization.
Those who know me, realize that I can only respond to emergencies when my daughter is in school and being cared for. Once she comes home, I can’t do any work no matter how much money I may be losing by missing a customer, nor can I go out to respond to emergencies. Thus, I am not as active as many other volunteers in my chapter.
The other side-effect of needing to provide constant care for my daughter is that I am not free to take vacations or go places with my other children, as much as they want me to. This pains me a lot.
However, this past Wednesday, my other children all gathered together to drag me and Shaina out of the house on a family trip to Ashdod. To transport the whole family in our car, as well as the wheelchair for Shaina and all of the other items she needs, is not a simple task and it took some doing and a lot of help from the other children. But in spite of the exhaustion that I face every day and the work it took to pack everything and everyone up into the car, the children persuaded me and my husband and we went. We took two cars, as we normally do whenever we take the entire family out, and we traveled down to Ashdod.
As soon as we turned onto Highway 4, I saw a car accident that had just taken place involving three vehicles. Two of the drivers, both men, began to get out of their cars. Their faces were bloodied due to having sustained injuries but they were able to walk. The third driver didn’t exit the vehicle.
I immediately pulled over to the side of the road, updated dispatch to what I saw, put on my vest and gloves, and got out to help the injured drivers and passengers. I performed a quick triage assessment of who needed care first and found that in the third vehicle was a new mother with a baby who was just a few days old. I ran to her and began to check her first. She was badly injured and was barely able to hold her own baby daughter. I took the baby and gave her to one of my sons and told him to wrap her up and keep her warm.
In the car were the mother, the father, and an uncle of the baby, all of whom were in their 20s. They all sustained moderate to severe injuries and needed to go to the hospital for treatment. I bandaged their wounds. As other first responders began to arrive they treated the other drivers and took over treating this family as well. I returned to the baby and held her. I went up to the new mother and reassured her that the baby would be okay with me and that I would wait here until the baby’s grandparents could arrive to take her.
Here I was, on the side of a highway, with my own daughter and children in the car behind me, holding a complete stranger’s daughter. The woman had no choice but to entrust me with her new baby daughter’s care. I reassured her that in addition to being an EMT I am also a caring mother and I showed her my own family, including Shaina, to put her at ease.
She was taken to the hospital and I waited for the grandfather. When he came, I transferred the car seat into his car and placed the baby girl gingerly inside it.
I take this as a sign from heaven. It wasn’t by chance that my children managed to drag me out of the house on this night specifically. I was supposed to be there. I was at the scene within seconds of the accident occurring. My treatment likely prevented further trauma to the injured and I was able to care for this family and reassure the woman that her daughter would be okay.
I felt uplifted to know that I was able to help and that I still had the confidence to do so, no matter what medical emergency came my way, even after not having been as active as many other volunteers. I began learning to be an EMT to help my own daughter and on Wednesday evening, I used what I learned to help someone else’s. This was truly G-d’s hand guiding me and I am thankful even more so for that.
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