On Friday night at around 9:00 p.m, a 64-year-old man lost consciousness in a synagogue in the Ezrat Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem during the Friday evening prayer service. A congregant who was a witness to the collapse ran over to the Nedarim Plus emergency alert system hanging on the wall and tapped the help button which alerted United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yisrael Horovitz had just finished Friday evening prayers and was walking out of a different synagogue when his communication device rang, notifying him of the emergency.
Yisrael arrived in just a few minutes. He pushed himself through the crowd inside the shul to where the 64-year-old man was lying unconscious and without a pulse on the floor. Someone was performing CPR. “I asked the person performing chest compressions to continue so I could connect the defibrillator from my medical kit, while not delaying the CPR. I showed him how to perform the compressions more effectively and he was a great help.”
Just after Yisrael connected the defibrillator, the first electric shock out of the three executed in total throughout the resuscitation was administered.
A few minutes later, other EMTs arrived. Yisrael, being the first responder at the scene, instructed the others in what was needed. They connected an oxygen respiratory mask and began assisted ventilation. When the paramedics and Physician Shlomo Gensler, who is also a United Hatzalah volunteer, arrived, they joined the resuscitative efforts providing advanced medical care and medication as well as intubating the patient.
Dr. Gensler said, “When I arrived the patient was still in a state of ventricular fibrillation where his heart was not pumping and there was not enough oxygen in his blood. We administered medications, and after a few minutes, the patient’s pulse returned. He eventually regained full consciousness and started to talk and even tried to get up from where he was lying down. I wanted to make sure that he sustained proper breathing before removing the airway from his throat or allowing him to get up and walk around.”
When it was time to transport the patient to the hospital, the paramedics requested additional help from Dr. Gensler in the ambulance. “I ended up going with them during the ambulance transport. The patient wasn’t stable enough and required continuous care. When, mid transport, we realized that the patient did not have enough oxygen flow to his brain, I sedated him right away and intubated him. It definitely helped that I was there because anesthesiology is one of the things I specialize in and something I do every day. He was brought to the trauma center in relatively stable condition even though he was sedated.”
Dr. Shlomo continued, “This is a story that validates the quick response time which is crucial for saving a life. Everything happened quickly and smoothly, from the arrival of the volunteers to the speedy treatment. Without it, this man would not have survived. It is amazing what United Hatzalah provides for the citizens of Israel and the lives that their system saves each day.”
After the incident, Yisrael said, “I have been a part of many successful resuscitations, but this was the first time that I was at one where the patient returned to full consciousness at the scene. He was trying to get up with force and speak. It was amazing,” said Yisrael in disbelief. “It excites me to see a man who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while praying, and is revived due to our intervention. I thank G-d that the man survived and that he is with us today. I sincerely hope that he will make a full recovery.”
About Nedarim Plus – The Nedarim Plus platform is an online donation platform that has machines inside many synagogues throughout Israel. Over the course of Shabbat and holidays, when many Synagogue goers do not carry their phones, the Nedarim Plus platform, which is operated via touchscreen, has an emergency button on the screen so that anyone in the synagogue can alert United Hatzalah, as well as other first response organizations to an emergency occurring in or nearby the synagogue. The dispatchers will receive the exact location and be able to receive information from the person making the request for help on the machine itself.
To support the life-saving work of United Hatzalah volunteers such as Yisrael and Dr. Shlomo, please click here: