On a Motzei Shabbat earlier this year in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol, a 5-month-old baby suffered an anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic reaction. The parents of the infant quickly called for assistance, and Ari Odzer, an immigrant from New York and United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who lives in the same building, quickly made his way to the apartment, just five floors down.
Upon arriving at the scene, Ari inspected the child and found a major rash on her back as well as low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing, all symptoms of anaphylaxis.
The American-born EMT immediately took out the lifesaving EpiPen device from his medical kit and pricked the baby to administer the dose of adrenaline.
“The child’s condition improved quickly and she regained her normal appearance,” he recounted after the incident. “I then held the baby, while the mother was getting ready to go to the hospital. While she threw up several times on me, it was all worth it for me, knowing that I had just helped save her life.”
After an ambulance arrived several minutes later, the infant was transported with her mother to the hospital for further treatment. She has since returned home and is in good health.
Ari, who is studying social work in Jerusalem through a Yeshiva University program, added: “It’s a privilege to be able to help save a baby’s life and even more so in my own building. It’s my first time using an EpiPen in a real-life situation, and thank God it all worked out for the best since I had received the device just two days earlier.”
Reflecting on his volunteer work, the EMT concluded: “I decided to volunteer with United Hatzalah about two years ago after being inspired by my mother, who volunteers with the organization in the Woman’s Unit. We have since been on several calls together, saving lives and delivering babies, and it’s an incredible feeling. Being able to be there for people in these emergencies is one of the greatest honors of my life.”