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More Than Simply a Medical Ride Along – Intensive Care Team Creates Bonds of Friendship With Children With Special Needs
One of United Hatzalah’s Intensive Care Ambulances that was donated to help provide emergency medical coverage in the Negev region, was recently instrumental in providing medical support for an amazing organization called Friends for Health.
Friends for Health provides care and positive life experiences for special needs children. The highlight of the year for both the children and their parents is a camp that the children participate in and go on an extended outing of five or six days. This trip is not possible without constant on-site medical support. The United Hatzalah ambulance carries a full attending crew of a physician, paramedics and EMTs.
This week, the group of over fifty children toured Southern Israel, with the camp being held in Eilat where they enjoyed many activities. For these children, the activities which included boat rides, going into the sea, visiting malls and eating in restaurants, are things that they almost never get to experience otherwise. Each camper was partnered with a volunteer form Friends for Health who accompanied the child to every event.
Due to the large variety of specific special needs and illnesses among the children, the United Hatzalah ambulance and its crew were in constant service, overseeing the medications administered to the children, assisting in occasions requiring rehydration and epileptic incidents. The ambulance was also used at times to simply be a place for a child to rest and keep from being overwhelmed from too much stimulation.
One of the organizers of the camp Yitzchak Label said: “The ambulance crew took care of the children through all hours of the day and night. They were always on call for any medical needs that the children or staff had. Having the ambulance present was enormously reassuring for the children. There was even one boy who needed to know where the ambulance was at all times as it helped him feel safe.”
Noa Levy, the Director of Programming for Friend For Health who was one of the camp organizers said: “The reason we take ambulances on these camps is so that we can have medical crews together with us who can help treat the child at the scene as well as provide quick transportation to the hospital should the need arise. The reason we take United Hatzalah ambulances and volunteers is because we are looking for more than just medical personnel who have a lot of field experience or even those with experience with children who have special needs. We are looking for medical personnel who will join together with our staff and interact with the children. We want the medical staff to create bonds of friendship and feel part of the camp so that they too can help the children with more than just medical emergencies. The United Hatzalah volunteers don’t come to be a medical staff and stand by watching from the outside. They became an integral part of the camp, created bonds of friendship with the children and interacted with them on many levels. Seeing these medical professionals take an active interest in the children helps our special needs participants in so many ways and it is vitally important to us.”