On November 8th, an 82-year-old man collapsed on the street in Holon, he was standing near a shop window when he suffered a heart attack. Emergency services were called and volunteers from Israel’s national volunteer emergency medical services (EMS) organization United Hatzalah arrived and began to resuscitate the elderly man. Little did they know that the person they were saving was the grandfather of one of their fellow volunteers, Shahak Barel. They also didn’t know that he was the grandfather of Sara Lee Barel who was to marry another fellow EMT, Yoni Toledano from Kiryat Ata later in the month.
Shahak related the dramatic story of how his grandfather was saved by his fellow EMTs. “We received a phone call that our grandfather collapsed outside of a store close to his house. The storekeeper called rescue services and within 90 seconds United Hatzalah volunteers began to arrive and perform CPR on our grandfather. He received 4 shocks from a defibrillator and his pulse returned. After being transported to the hospital, thankfully, he began to recover.”
“When the family arrived at the hospital, the doctor told us that his survival was simply a miracle. ‘Your grandfather was already in the grave and the emergency treatment he received pulled him back,’ he explained to us. The United Hatzalah volunteers who arrived saved his life, enabling him to attend my sister’s wedding yesterday (Monday). And we are very thankful for their efforts.”
At the wedding, which took place this past week, a chair was brought for Mr. Barel so that he could sit next to the wedding canopy and watch his granddaughter Sara Lee marry Yoni. “United Hatzalah runs in our family you could say,” quipped Shahak. “We certainly don’t take the work for granted, nor do we take the fact that our grandfather is alive and with us at this joyous occasion for granted either. It is because of United Hatzalah that he is here and both myself and Yoni are proud of our fellow volunteers who saved his life and proud of the work that we do to save the lives of others.”