On Friday, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Muhammad Aliyan was at his home in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of Jerusalem preparing to go to noon prayers when the emergency application on his phone alerted him to a medical emergency occurring in his vicinity. A 60-year-old man has suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on his living room floor. Worried family members called emergency services for help. Muhammad quickly checked his phone and saw that the address was just a few streets away in his neighborhood.

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Muhammad Aliyan

Muhammad raced to his car and drove to the address indicated. When he arrived just two minutes later, another United Hatzalah volunteer, Yechiel Mayburg, was already at the scene and had attached a defibrillator in preparation for performing CPR. Muhammad joined his Jewish colleague and the two of them initiated CPR on the man, whom Muhammad realized was an acquaintance of his.

After a few minutes of CPR, a mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and joined the effort. As the paramedic from the ambulance prepared medications, the defibrillator advised a shock which was provided. The man’s pulse came back and then quickly faded away once more. The team continued their efforts and after a few minutes, another shock was delivered with the same results, the man’s pulse came back and then disappeared. Muhammad recounted that “after the third shock was administered, the man began to resist compressions, a sign that he was coming back to life.”

Muhammad said that the success of the resuscitation effort was thanks to the combined efforts of all the people involved. “We worked together as a team and that made a huge difference in saving this man’s life. His pulse kept coming back and then fading again. This isn’t all that unusual, but it takes a dedicated team working together to save a life in these circumstances. Everyone has to chip in and help and I am happy that we did because the man is still alive today.”

Muhammad currently works as a physician’s assistant in Shaare Zedek Hospital and as an EMT vaccinator against the Coronavirus in east Jerusalem. For him, the story didn’t end on Friday as the man was transported to the hospital. On Sunday morning, while Muhammad was taking care of some errands nearby, he met the son of the man who collapsed on Friday. “The man’s son came up to me and thanked me profusely for our efforts in saving his father. It is a great feeling to know that I have helped and that I have made a difference in the lives of this man and his family.”

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