On Monday night, just after 10 p.m. in the northern city of Tzfat (Safed), A 60-year-old handyman began suffering acute chest pains and decided to take a break and lay down on a park bench nearby. Shortly thereafter, the pain became overpowering and the man screamed. A passerby noticed the man on the bench screaming in pain, and quickly called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center.

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UH volunteers helping a patient (illustration)

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shimon Chaim Dahan was at his home with his three kids when he received the emergency alert. Noticing that the man’s location was in the park on the same street as his home, Shimon Chaim rushed to his ambucycle and arrived at the park in less than a minute.

As Shimon Chaim approached the bench, he heard the man yelling, saying he was going to die. Shimon Chaim knew he had to do everything in his power to help.

Grabbing his medical kit, Shimon Chaim monitored the man’s vital signs and assessed that he was most likely suffering from a myocardial infarction. The EMT radioed in to dispatch to request that a mobile intensive care ambulance be sent and then administered 300mg of aspirin to reduce cardiac pressure, instructing the man to chew the pills for rapid absorption into the bloodstream. When the MICU arrived, an EKG was attached, and the patient was taken straight to the hospital for an emergency procedure.

Two days later, Shimon Chaim received a call from a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer. He informed Shimon Chaim that the man had made a full recovery, and was in fact in his very home, fixing a plumbing issue. The handyman took the opportunity to thank Shimon Chaim for saving his life.

“I have never before had the opportunity to talk to one of the patients whose life I helped save. This was a new experience for me. I got to hear the man tell me ‘thank you’ and talk to me about his life after making a full recovery, ” commented Shimon Chaim. “When you see, or in this case hear, the man whom you saved two nights ago thank you, and he informs you that thanks to your help he is completely healthy, it puts the work we do into a new perspective. This man is living proof of the value of the effort that I put in as a volunteer. I feel it is my duty to volunteer as an EMT, and I’ve always recognized its importance. But it is something completely different to be shown the evidence of just how important it is and how much of a difference you can make.

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