Last Thursday evening, a woman was in her home in Akko, preparing dinner in the kitchen when she suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness. Her alarmed husband screamed and thus alerted their neighbor who then called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. The automated dispatching system located volunteer EMT Avigdor Harris as the nearest responder to the scene. Avigdor lives merely a few hundred meters away from the address where the emergency took place.

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United Hatzalah Jewish and Muslim volunteer in Akko – Illustration

The dedicated first responder jumped on his ambucycle as soon as he received the call and arrived in under a minute. He was the first responder on the scene. Finding the 60-year-old woman lying on the ground, Avigdor immediately launched into full-blown CPR.

Avigdor began chest compressions as he requested a mobile intensive care ambulance (MICU) for backup. Avigdor attached his defibrillator to the woman’s chest and administered a single shock. After a few minutes, additional volunteers and medical personnel arrived on the scene.

The nearest ambulance was located 30 minutes away from Akko, in the town Sakhnin. Calculating the woman’s deteriorating situation and the time it would take for the ambulance to arrive, Avigdor knew he had to act quickly to save the woman’s life.

Avigdor contacted the Akko chapter head Noam Lipshin, who then called in Muslim United Hatzalah doctor and resident of Akko Dr. Amir Muati. Amir arrived quickly and began administering adrenaline to the patient, to stabilize her condition. By the time the MICU ambulance arrived, the woman’s pulse had returned, and she was taken to the nearest hospital for further testing.

“Volunteering with United Hatzalah is always a thrill and a pleasure, but this CPR specifically was unique for me, because I was the first on the scene, and it was mainly the efforts of United Hatzalah EMTs that saved the woman,” commented Avigdor. “When we learned that the ambulance was too far away, we acted quickly, using our network of volunteers to provide the necessary care in the meantime. We were all fully equipped and ready to help, and that ended up saving the woman’s life. In this case, as in many others, United Hatzalah saved the day, and I am so grateful to be a part of such an establishment.”

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