On Thursday afternoon, upon finishing her day of filming instructional videos for new emergency medical technicians at United Hatzalah headquarters in Jerusalem, Revital Curiel couldn’t get her car started. The regional paramedic of the organization’s Negev chapter, who also works with the chief medical training office in Jerusalem, had an issue with the remote that unlocks her car door and is required to start her engine.


For more than 30 minutes the paramedic became increasingly agitated as she continuously tried to find a solution to the issue. The options of having the car towed or having a technician come were both costly and would take far too long as she needed to get home to Be’er Sheva so that she could pick up her two children. “I was so upset by this situation, that kept getting worse and worse, that  I was on the verge of tears, and I am not someone who gets rattled easily,” said Curiel who has been an EMS instructor and volunteer responder for more than a decade in both the IDF and with United Hatzalah.   


Finally, a co-worker suggested she go to the electric store down the street and see if they could help her. A worker behind the desk took a look at her remote and was able to re-wire the device in a few minutes. When Curiel asked how much she owed the store clerk said, “You volunteer with United Hatzalah. Instead of paying us, go save someone’s life.” That is precisely what Curiel proceeded to do.


On her ride home, Curiel was driving past Hulda Interchange on Highway 3 and noticed a truck stopped on the side of the highway. She thought that the situation looked odd and pulled over. As she was pulling over she noticed a car in front of the truck and realized that this was the scene of a very recent accident. She stopped the car and ran out to assess the injured and triage them as needed. She saw the driver of the car in a bad state, having suffered numerous injuries and very rapidly losing consciousness. The truck driver was lightly injured and not in bad shape at all. “I began treating the driver of the car and it took a few minutes but I was able to stabilize him because I had my paramedic kit with me in the car. Had it not been for my timely arrival, and being a paramedic which enabled me to provide the injured driver with the medical care necessary to stabilize him, his situation would have deteriorated rapidly. It was a matter of me being in the right place at the right time.” When the ambulance arrived a short time later he told Curiel that had it not been for her intervention this likely would have been a very different transport case for them.

The truck that got into a motor vehicle accident on highway 3
The truck that got into a motor vehicle accident on highway 3

Curiel looked back on the experience and understood it as a lesson learned. “It would seem that I needed to have the car trouble I had in order to be there to save this driver’s life. I guess even when things are bad, and the stresses of life get to you, one always has to keep in the back of their mind that maybe it is for a good reason. Today it certainly was, because of the car trouble I had, I saved a man’s life.”


Curiel said that she expects to go back to the store when she is next in Jerusalem and tell the clerk about the life she saved and how she kept up her end of the bargain with his help.