This past Sunday night, just after 7:00 p.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Meir Turgeman was at his home in Holon with his family, when he received an emergency alert from his communications device. A 71-year-old man had collapsed in his apartment, not so far away from Meir’s location, on Ehad BeMai street.

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UH volunteers in Holon. (Illustration)

Meir quickly grabbed his medical kit and raced to the given address, arriving in just under four minutes, alongside Yosef Cazes, an EMT in training and an ambulance crew. A total of seven medical personnel walked into the apartment. Working together the team located the man and checked his vitals. Finding no pulse and no breathing, the team launched into a full-blown CPR.

Meir initiated chest compressions and Yosef helped with providing assisted ventilation. The ambulance crew attached a heart monitor, which showed that the man was in ventricular fibrillation, and administered a shock. The man’s pulse kept fading in and out inconsistently, causing the team to switch off between rounds of chest compressions.

“As a trainee, nearing the end of my full training to become an EMT, I was able to experience and witness many tactics and strategies I have never seen before,” commented Yosef. “During my time in training, I have been to many emergencies involving CPR, but in this incident in particular, I got to learn a lot, which is helping me get one step closer to becoming an EMT.”

After an hour of compressions and assisted breathing, and six shocks from the monitor, the man’s pulse began to stabilize, slowly, he began to breathe once again. Still unconscious but breathing and with a pulse, the elderly man was taken to the nearest hospital.

“This was by far one of the hardest CPR efforts I experienced,” said Meir. ”We worked on the man for over an hour and a half. There was great teamwork between all of the first responders; we were constantly rotating jobs and all very active the entire time. When we finally stabilized the man’s pulse and he was loaded onto the ambulance, we were all very drained. However, it was all worth it, because we knew that our hard work had just saved a life.”

Yosef concluded by saying: “I have always been interested in the medical field, and I’ve always wanted to volunteer. I want to be a part of an organization that saves lives and is completely run by volunteers. One that is changing our world for the better. When I learned about United Hatzalah I knew that this is what I want to do. Saving the man’s life on Sunday was a reminder of why I began this journey and why I hope to continue it for many years to come.”

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