On Shabbat afternoon, a young woman at a retreat suffered a severe allergic reaction after consuming cranberries mixed into a salad. Uncertain about what to do, the program director sought help from a neighbor who is an EMT.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yehuda Levi was resting at home when his son informed him that someone at the door needed assistance. He quickly jumped out of bed and ran over, immediately recognizing that the young woman was experiencing a severe anaphylactic episode. Noticing the program director had an EpiPen, Levi immediately administered it to the patient.
Grabbing his communications device, Levi notified United Hatzalah Dispatch of the emergency and provided oxygen to the patient, who was struggling to breathe. Observing a decline in the young woman’s condition, Levi administered another EpiPen.
Dr. Shlomo Gensler, a physician and volunteer for United Hatzalah, was eating the Shabbat meal with his family when he received an alert on his communications device. Quickly responding in his Advanced Life Support fly-car with lights and sirens blaring, he arrived at the scene in under three minutes. Eli Jaffa, another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT living nearby, pulled up seconds later.
As Gensler and Jaffa entered the building, they could hear the patient wheezing and still struggling to breathe. Dr. Gensler administered another dose of adrenaline while instructing Jaffa to attach a nebulizer and Levi to connect the patient to the monitor.
Dr. Gensler then administered steroid medication and inhalation intervention via the nebulizer to the patient. After a few minutes, the young woman’s condition began to improve. Shortly afterward, the Advanced Life Support Ambulance arrived and transported the patient to the hospital for further care. The young woman was released from the hospital a few hours later.
“Every time we go out and save a life, it is amazing,” reflected Dr. Gensler. “Seeing somebody who was having such difficulty breathing, on the brink of life and death, and being able to help them when they are at their most vulnerable moment is extremely gratifying. It’s like literally breathing life into somebody again. It’s an honor and a privilege to help people and to make a difference.”
“To be at such an emergency when one EpiPen wasn’t enough and three doses were needed was very intense,” said Levi. “I’m just happy that we were able to stabilize the patient and glad that I was home and able to jump in and help when it was needed the most.”