A few weeks ago in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, Yosef, in his 50s, began experiencing heartburn and weakness in his left hand. Recognizing these as early signs of a potential heart attack, his wife Chedva promptly called for an ambulance.

Responding swiftly to the distress call was Joelle Cohen, a volunteer EMT, and a member of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU), accompanied by volunteer EMT Asher Elmasi. The pair assessed the man’s condition, provided crucial care, including administering aspirin, and remained vigilant as they awaited the arrival of the intensive care ambulance team.

After an agonizing 40-minute wait, the intensive care team finally reached the scene. Moments after their arrival, the man experienced a cardiac arrest. Joelle and Asher sprang into action, working in tandem with the intensive care team to resuscitate the patient through chest compressions and electric shocks.

Amidst the whirlwind of urgent medical intervention, Joelle’s attention was drawn to Chedva, who suffered from emotional shock, her world hung in the balance as her husband fought for his life. Wearing her PCRU hat, Joelle stood by her side, offering solace through the recitation of Psalms, instilling strength and hope during those uncertain moments.

Yosef, who was eventually transported to the hospital, survived the incident and is expected to make a full recovery. Since the incident, Joelle who happens to share their last name, has become close to the family. “The fact that I recited Psalms with Chedva during the incident created a special bond between us,” she explained. “I also called her twice after the incident to check on them. It really moved her.”

Last week, Joelle and Asher, together with David Sfedj, the head of United Hatzalah’s team in the neighborhood, who happens to be a friend of the family, visited the couple in the hospital. Chedva expressed the family’s gratitude and unwavering admiration to the volunteers for their actions, saying, “You not only arrived quickly and helped save my husband, but you also took care of me, helping me stay calm in this difficult moment. I cannot thank you enough.”

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