On Saturday night, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Hen Rotenberg, who has been recently volunteering in the Jerusalem vaccination center administering Covid-19 vaccines, was at her home Srigim, a small town located south of Beit Shemesh. She was preparing to entertain some company and about to step into the shower when her emergency communication device sprang to life alerting her to a medical emergency occurring nearby. An 89-year-old woman had just lost consciousness in the neighboring kibbutz of Netiv Ha-Lamed-Heh. 

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Hen Rotenberg at the vaccination center in Jerusalem

In spite of expecting her guests to arrive soon, Hen didn’t hesitate in responding to the emergency. She had already participated in two other unsuccessful CPRs last week and was determined to do everything possible to make sure that this resuscitation effort would have a different outcome.  


“I live in an area where there are not as many first responders as there are in cities. If I didn’t respond, I’m not sure how long it would be before another person arrived. In cases like these, time is of the essence and this woman needed help as soon as possible,” Hen commented. 


As Hen rushed out the door, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yona Rabinowitz from Beit Shemesh, who also received the alert, stopped his learning with his son, climbed on his ambucycle and rushed over to the given location. Arriving together with a local doctor, the team of volunteers located the woman. A relative had lain her on the ground and was performing chest compressions.


Swiftly taking over, Hen together with the other responders launched into a full CPR. The team attached a defibrillator and rotated between rounds of chest compressions and assisted breathing. After a few minutes, additional volunteers began arriving at the scene, and a short while later a mobile intensive care ambulance arrived as well. The doctor administered doses of adrenaline as the team worked together to save the woman’s life.


After an hour of CPR efforts, the team grew tired and weary. Between a round of compressions, Hen stopped to check if the woman had regained a pulse. Hen and the team were surprised to see that the woman had regained her pulse, and was then quickly transported to the hospital.


“It was already getting late after an hour of CPR. We were all getting pretty tired. As the woman was advanced in age, and seeing as there hadn’t been much improvement in her condition over the past hour, we began to expect the worst. But I knew we shouldn’t give up. When the woman’s pulse finally returned, we were all ecstatic. I have done numerous CPR’s in the past, but this one taught me an important lesson. I, together with the rest of the team, was tested many times that night. Were we going to simply let life take its course, or were we going to fight and do everything in our power to make sure that this woman had a fighting shot at survival? We chose time and again to fight and we worked together like a well-trained team to bring back the woman’s pulse in the hope of saving her life. It was because of this, that we witnessed the miracle of a successful CPR and the human tenacity to live.”

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