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Of Cows, Coffee, and Successful CPR
On Sunday morning at around 7:00 a.m., a group of 5 workers in the cowshed of Kibbutz Yagur were drinking their morning coffee together when one of them suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed unconscious right in front of their eyes. As one of the men started to perform chest compressions, the others called emergency services for help.
Haim Gitter lives in Kibbutz Yagur and works in developing the agriculture of the kibbutz. He was already in his office when he was alerted to the emergency nearby. “I ran so fast I thought I was flying, and within a minute, I arrived at the cowshed.”
As Haim works closely with all of the agricultural staff, he knew the person in need was a friend of his. “It made the situation even more stressful, but I feel privileged that I was able to help him and glad it ended happily,” Haim recounted.
The EMT switched out the man performing CPR. “It was a good thing that someone started compressions immediately, even though he didn’t have the best form, because keeping the heart pumping is essential under these circumstances.”
The others were eager to help so Haim asked them to take out the defibrillator he had brought with him and they sprung to action. They took out the stickers and applied them to the patient’s chest. The defibrillator advised a shock almost immediately afterward. Haim distanced the group and a shock was administered. He immediately crouched back down and continued CPR.
Within the next minute, the man’s pulse returned and he started to breathe. A few minutes later, an intensive care ambulance arrived at the scene to help.
As the paramedic approached the patient started to move his arms and legs and even opened his eyes. Haim explained, “When he regained consciousness, he asked me, ‘Haim, what are you doing here?’, in such confusion. I told him I came to help and asked him if he remembered what happened. He had no clue, and responded that he was just drinking coffee with the guys. It took me by surprise that he regained full consciousness at the scene as that is incredibly rare after a person suffers a cardiac arrest and has to undergo CPR.”
The patient’s wife called Haim afterward from the hospital. She said a heartfelt ‘thank you.’ The doctors and nurses there chimed in to thank him as well and showered him with well-deserved honor and credit for arriving so quickly which was a preeminent cause for his revival.
“It was really a miracle. I’m so emotional thinking about how crazy it was,” Haim expressed. “I even remember the first thought that crossed my mind when my friend was driving away in the ambulance. It was about how taking the course and becoming an EMT was worth it just for being able to save him. We are so often responding to emergencies when we are unsuccessful and it can sometimes feel like we are wasting time being EMTs. But then something like this happens and it changes our whole perspective. It makes all the other times worth it when we succeed in saving just one person, especially if that is someone we know and love from our own community.”
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