On Monday evening, just after 5:00 p.m., a man in his 60s was driving on Jerusalem Boulevard in Holon and stopped at a traffic light just before the turn onto Highway 4. Cars began to stop behind him as they waited for the light to turn. All of a sudden another driver saw the man slump forward against his steering wheel. The bystander got out of his car and called for other people to help. A group of motorists exited their respective vehicles to see what had happened and whether they could assist. 

Dov Rinkoff with his wife Hila and two other members of United Hatzalah outside their home in Kiryat Gat 1
Dov Rinkoff with his wife Hila (also an EMT) and two other members of United Hatzalah outside their home in Kiryat Gat

About 20 minutes earlier, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Dov Rinkoff had decided to leave work early as he was feeling tired and unproductive. Working in Holon as a software engineer, Dov got into his car and began to drive down Jerusalem Boulevard heading toward the highway so he could go home to his family in Kiryat Gat. Dov was one of the drivers in the line of cars behind the collapsed driver. 


“When I saw the commotion take place in front of me I knew some sort of emergency was taking place,” Dov recounted. “I was about ten cars back from the incident ut I saw a bunch of people get out of their cars and start running forward. While I didn’t see an accident, I figured that someone was in need of help so I got out of my car, grabbed my medical kit, and ran to the first vehicle in line where I found the collapsed man. I told someone to call United Hatzalah’s dispatch for help and backup and then I got to work.”


Dov added that the other drivers had begun helping in any way that they could. “The other drivers pulled the man out of his vehicle and laid him down by his car on the side of the road. When I arrived I quickly checked for vital signs and found none. I attached the defibrillator that was in my car and even before I began compressions it advised a shock.” 


Dov administered the shock and then asked one of the bystanders to initiate chest compression instructing him on the proper method to make the compressions most effective while pulling out the oxygen tank and attaching it to a bag valve mask in order to administer assisted ventilation. A few minutes later Dov was joined by another EMT from United Hatzalah who was in the area and one of the organization’s ambulances. 


United Hatzalah volunteer Shmuel Meshulam who was in the ambulance said, “Dov had administered one shock and after I arrived we administer two more. Within five minutes of Dov having initiated CPR, the man’s pulse returned and he began to breathe on his own. We continued treating the man until the mobile intensive care ambulance showed up and transported him to the hospital. I was in the ambulance for a while yesterday and we transported a different patient who was seriously injured in a work accident to the same hospital a bit later on. I used the opportunity to check in on the driver he had been sent to the catheterization lab and was expected to recover. I was thankful that I was able to help and for the bystander’s and Dov’s quick intervention which made a big difference in saving the man’s life.”  


“It feels very good to save a life on my way home from work,” said Dov, who was born and raised in London before he moved with his family to Israel. “Everyone was trying to help and being the first EMT on the scene I was able to instruct those who had gotten out of their own vehicles on exactly what to do. Everyone involved showed how much we all care for one another here, even if that other person is a total stranger. One of my friends from work was right behind me on the road and saw the whole thing unfold. Today he went around telling everyone about it.” 


Dov concluded by saying, “It was a bit surreal for me as I never leave work this early in the day. I was feeling tired and I saw that my efficiency was declining so I decided to leave and go home. Little did I know that God was intervening and put me in the right place at the right time to help save this man’s life.”  

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