On Wednesday morning, as an El-Al flight en route from Tel Aviv to Budapest was taxiing to the runway, a passenger on board lost consciousness and fell from his seat.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yakov Miller, who was heading to Hungary to pray at the grave of famed Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Shaya’la of Kerestir, had informed a flight attendant upon boarding that he was an EMT and offered assistance in case of an emergency. Little did he know that his skills would be required just moments later.

As the stricken passenger collapsed, the head flight attendant immediately alerted Miller. Rushing to the passenger seat, he found the man in the midst of a severe seizure. He immediately suggested that the flight attendant instruct the pilot not to take off and requested the medical kit on board. The EMT secured the area around the passenger to prevent injuries during the seizure and waited for the episode to conclude as per protocol.

Once the seizure subsided and the man progressively regained consciousness, Miller began assessing the patient’s vital signs and administered oxygen. The volunteer inquired about the patient’s medical history and found, surprisingly, that there was no known history of epilepsy. With the patient stabilized for the moment, Miller advised the pilot that he felt it was still unsafe for the passenger to continue the journey due to the unclear cause of the seizure and recommended consulting an intensive care crew.

Upon the arrival of a paramedic on the plane, the decision was made to disembark the patient, who was subsequently transported to the hospital. Approximately an hour and a half later, with the situation under control, the plane was cleared for takeoff, continuing its journey to Hungary.

“It’s an extremely rewarding feeling to be able to help a man in such a difficult time for them,” reflected Miller after the incident. “If the plane had taken off, it could have potentially been very dangerous. Perhaps the merit of Reb Shaya’la is what caused me to be at the right place at the right time.” 

Photo courtesy of Luxury Tours