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Taking a Break from Martial Arts to Save a Life
On Wednesday evening at around 7:30 p.m., a 68-year-old man lost consciousness in a Ramle synagogue during evening prayer services. The congregants stopped the prayers and called emergency services. One fellow tried performing CPR as they waited for help to arrive.
Avraham Arnon is a remarkable United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who was recognized by the Mayor of Ramle for his incredible dedication and service to the people of the city.
On Wednesday night, Avraham’s communication device rang as he was in the middle of instructing a martial arts class. Being the dedicated volunteer that he is, Avraham exclaimed his apologies to his students and ran outside to his waiting ambucycle.
On the way, Avraham realized the shul where the emergency was taking place was the congregation where his family members often attended. He quickly dialed their number and was told that his relative was indeed at the shul that very moment. Avraham hurried over to the scene, with even more motivation than before, lest his family member be the one in trouble.
When Avraham arrived inside a minute later, he found a congregant unconscious on the floor. “The unconscious gentleman was not my relative, but he is a friend of mine,” Avraham later mentioned. “There was a man trying his best to perform CPR but was not educated on how to do it properly. He was pushing down towards the stomach instead of on the chest. I am always happy that people at least try to help, even if they don’t know how. Hopefully he was convinced after this experience to take a CPR course.”
Avraham immediately took over. Less than two minutes into chest compressions, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Tal Lalum arrived to help. She connected a defibrillator and then switched out Avraham with the chest compressions. Every few minutes, the pair would switch off for maximum efficiency in efforts of a successful revival.
Once the intensive care ambulance arrived, the paramedics continued the resuscitation with advanced treatment, and after 15 minutes total, the team succeeded in bringing back a steady pulse.
The team then carefully transferred the man into the ambulance to transport him to the hospital for further care and recovery.
After the incident Avraham commented on the added stress of this specific CPR, “Once I realized that I recognized the man, it made this rescue effort different for me. Performing CPR on a person is stressful enough as it is, but the added stress of doing it on a friend of mine made it harder. I pushed myself even more and continued helping for as long as I could until the patient was en route to the hospital. In the end, we succeeded, which was definitely a relief to us all.”
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