United Hatzalah emergency medical service (EMS) volunteers respond to more than 1,000 emergencies per day in Israel. But some rescue stories rise above the others. This is one such story.

EMT Dov Bash lives in Telshe Stone with his family. Bash is an extremely active EMT who responds to emergency calls in the entire region from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh.  Last Tuesday in Moshav Beit Meir, Bash had a very unusual call.

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The scene at Beit Meir

A 15-year-old yeshiva student was getting some fresh air in between classes. He climbed onto the roof of a domed water cistern and then lost his balance, plummeting more than 8 meters to the empty cistern’s hard concrete floor. Horrified friends who witnessed the fall immediately called for help.

Bash was riding his ambucycle on Highway One, when he received the urgent alert. Flicking on his siren and red lights, Bash raced down the highway and onto the local roads, arriving at the moshav in under 5 minutes . Immediately upon entering Beit Meir, frantic students quickly directed the ambucycle EMT to the exact location, where he could hear the anguished cries of the injured teenager. A local resident had meanwhile brought a tall ladder to the site. Bash slung his heavy medical kit on his back and carefully descended the ladder into the cistern.

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Rope rescue inside cistern

As he performed a quick injury assessment, the caring medic reassured the terrified youth who was moaning in agony. The boy had suffered a serious leg fracture as well as various injuries all over his body. Bash rapidly immobilized the fractured leg to minimize pain and prevent further damage. After treating and bandaging the boy’s other wounds, Bash opened an IV line and administered vital fluids. An intensive ambulance crew arrived but initially refused to descend the ladder into the cistern. By the time a special rope, rescue and extrication unit arrived, a full 40 minutes had passed. During this entire time, Bash was the sole emergency responder taking care of this unfortunate youth, both physically and emotionally.

Bash briefed the ambulance crew & assisted in providing advanced life support intervention. A delicate and complex rescue operation then began, as the team performed a straight vertical extrication through a small round opening the top of the structure. By the time the boy was extricated and placed in the ambulance, a grueling two and a half hours had passed.

Without Dov’s rapid arrival, selfless dedication and professional medical intervention, this 15-year-old boy would have spent an interminable 40 minutes of pure agony and terror alone in the bottom of the pit. Bash was at the boy’s side in the minutes that mattered most.

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