Shani is a 29-year-old teacher from the town of Netivot in the southern Negev. Shani’s motivation to enter the field of emergency first response stemmed from a traumatic incident that occurred many years ago.
When Shani’s brother was just 9 years old, he was playing soccer when the ball slammed into his chest. The youngster fell to the ground motionless, suffering from cardiac arrest. Within less than two minutes, a United Hatzalah medic was crouching over her brother, performing lifesaving chest compressions and providing artificial ventilation. The youngster soon regained consciousness and Shani gained a lifelong admiration for volunteer EMTs.
Recently, Shani became aware that there was a significant lack of female volunteers in her hometown. Realizing that women prefer women to treat their medical emergencies, Shani’s decision to become a medic came at an opportune time. Shani completed the United Hatzalah EMT course, an intensive program combining classroom instruction with practical on-hands training. The participants take both written exams as well as demonstrating practical lifesaving skills such as CPR, administering oxygen, choking procedures and setting up IV lines. The United Hatzalah instructors are all expert EMTs with many years of in-the-field experience. The program also includes an internship period where the medics in training are able to respond to calls together with veteran United Hatzalah medics, as well as do ambulance shifts in order to accumulate vital lifesaving field experience.
Shani completed her internship and is already in the thick of lifesaving. She shared an amazing story with us. On one recent occasion, Shani was alerted to an infant suffering from an anaphylactic reaction. Racing swiftly to respond to the call, Shani found the baby’s face swollen, red and blotched- all telltale signs of a severe allergic reaction. The baby was breathing in whistling gasps as his windpipe had severely constricted from the life-threatening allergy. Shani gave him an EpiPen shot and the effect eased his symptoms almost immediately, as his breathing gradually eased and the swelling died down. The baby had been left with the grandfather, who knew of his allergy to milk but had given what he mistakenly thought was a non-dairy wafer to the child. The child’s parents rushed back after 20 minutes, and an intensive care ambulance arrived 20 minutes later. Shani’s rapid intervention undoubtedly saved the baby’s life and the parents thanked her profusely.
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