One afternoon a few months ago, United Hatzalah EMT Omer Elian, was at a customer’s office, installing a door for their entrance, when his United Hatzalah communications device alerted him to a nearby accident. A man had been observing construction at the house he was building when he stumbled and fell two floors to the courtyard. The 46-year-old man landed on an upright metal rebar that pierced his skull. Omer dropped what he was doing and hurried to the location.

Scene of the man’s fall

Omer arrived in just two minutes, took the patient’s vital signs, and monitored bleeding from his mouth. The EMT carefully immobilized the patient to limit movement and to prevent secondary spinal cord injury. A United Hatzalah ambulance crew arrived five minutes later and assisted in monitoring his condition until he could be extricated.

Removing the rebar from the man’s skull in these conditions would have led to uncontrollable bleeding and further brain trauma, spelling certain death. Omer, a reserve IDF Officer in the Home Front Command’s special rescue unit, assisted the firefighters in carefully cutting the rebar underneath the victim’s head. With the rebar severed from the concrete, the experienced EMT was finally able to prepare the victim for medical transport. He attached oxygen and transferred him to a backboard before loading him aboard an ambulance to be rushed to a nearby trauma center with the impaled rebar still in place.

At the hospital, doctors discovered that the rebar had penetrated between two important arteries that supply blood to the brain which appeared miraculously undamaged. However, they were concerned that the rebar was blocking an arterial tear which they couldn’t see and that as soon as they removed the rod, the victim would immediately bleed to death. The surgeons performed a 10-hour long surgery and successfully removed the rod. After just four weeks of treatment and rehabilitation, the now recovered man walked out of the hospital.

Omer’s rapid level-headed response and professional stabilization were vital components in this man’s miraculous survival. “It was a hard thing to see,” Omer later commented. “The victim’s brother fainted when he saw the metal rod piercing through his brother’s head. When you see such an accident and then see the same man walking out of the hospital in perfect condition only four weeks later, you feel as if you participated  in a miracle.”


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