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Saving a Life While Help Is Far Away
On Friday morning at 5:30 a.m., a woman in her home in Wadi Yasul, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, called United Hatzalah due to her suffering from shortness of breath. They immediately notified the closest first responders to come and help the woman.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Atef Amro, who lives around the corner from the woman, was awakened by the notification alerting him to the emergency. Even though he was still tired, he got up, dressed quickly, and rushed to the scene without thinking twice.
He arrived within 5 minutes of receiving the notification. Atef took the woman’s vitals and reported to the hotline that the woman was fully conscious and he should be able to help her condition improve before long.
However, during the examination and treatment, the woman’s condition deteriorated significantly. Her pulse dropped from a rate of 49 to 30 and she stopped breathing altogether. Atef reported the situation to the dispatch center and requested immediate backup. He began to perform CPR on the woman in hopes that her condition would improve.
United Hatzalah volunteer Ahmad Isela was driving down the Begin Boulevard when he was notified that Atef needed backup. Ahmad decided to go, even though it would take him around 10 minutes to get there, because there were no other first responders nearby to help. He also had a defibrillator device which he knew that Atef did not have and would need. In addition, the dispatch center reported that the Intensive Mobile Care ambulance stopped at the entrance to the village and refused to enter until they had proper security. He felt a responsibility to go and help, even if he wouldn’t make it in time, because it could be up to him and his defibrillator to save the woman’s life.
Atef continued CPR by himself until the Intensive Mobile Care ambulance arrived and the Paramedics administered adrenaline to the woman. After three rounds total of CPR, they succeeded in returning a pulse to the woman and she started breathing again.
It took Ahmad around 15 minutes to arrive, and when he did, he was met by a smiling Atef shouting, “We Succeeded, We Succeeded!”, signaling with a thumbs-up. They transferred the woman into the ambulance and she was brought to the hospital.
Ahmad spoke about the incident and said, “Although I didn’t get to help with the resuscitation, I believe that the work that we do as United Hatzalah volunteers is “sacred work” and I still feel like I was part of the Mitzvah even though I only arrived afterward.”
“It was a very emotional and stressful experience, said Atef. “Because the woman’s condition deteriorated so quickly and unexpectedly and all other first responders were situated far away, it was mainly up to me to bring her back. Once I did though, with the help of the Paramedics, I felt so relieved.”
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