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The Importance of Always Having Backup When Needed
Two months ago, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Salah Majad was in his home in the village of Beit Hanina, celebrating a family event, when he received an emergency alert to a nearby car accident. The report from dispatch that came over his communications device described the incident as a minor accident, and being as he was very close, he decided to respond to the emergency and reassured his family that he would return soon.
Arriving in just four minutes, Salah was shocked to discover two cars that had severely collided on the main road just outside the city of Ramallah. The airbags in both cars had deployed indicating the force of the collision. Salah, seeing this, understood that this was no minor accident. The EMT quickly reported to United Hatzalah’s dispatch center that this was in fact a serious car accident and requested immediate backup. The EMT began triaging and assisting the six injured people, all of whom had suffered blunt force trauma in the powerful crash. The various injured passengers and drivers had suffered numerous injuries and Salah was worried that there would be possible spinal injuries and fractures.
One of the vehicle’s doors were bent inwards, and the driver was trapped inside. Salah attended first to the driver, using a tool to try opening the crushed door. After having no success at gaining access to the driver, he moved on and pulled the two passengers in the back of the crushed car out of the window. The car had been hit so hard that the force of the impact pushed it onto the sidewalk. The volunteer grabbed a neck brace from his ambucycle’s medical kit and affixed it on one of the victims, he then began bandaging one of the other patients.
After stabilizing the patients in the first vehicle, Salah then turned his attention to those in the second vehicle. He paused for a moment and observed the shattered glass from the windshield and side windows all over the ground. After observing the glass momentarily, Salah was not shocked to find a man in his thirties yelling in agony. The EMT approached him and asked if the man could tell him what was causing so much pain. The man, between sobs, managed to tell Salah that he had just been released from the hospital the day before, after having undergone shoulder surgery and the collision had without a doubt reinjured the already tender joint. Salah carefully stabilized his shoulder and then began to monitor the man’s vitals.
Salah was a bit unsure of how to proceed with this patient needing continuous monitoring to ensure that his situation didn’t deteriorate, and there were two other patients who still needed assistance. Thankfully, that was when additional United Hatzalah volunteers arrived at the scene together with a fire truck. The firefighters used heavy tools to pry open the driver’s door in the first vehicle and then extricate the injured driver. Salah continued to monitor his patient as his colleagues provided on-scene treatment for the remaining victims until the arrival of the ambulances, twenty minutes later.
“When I arrived at the scene I was caught off guard,” Salah commented. “Once I realized that the accident was far more serious than reported, I immediately requested back up, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to provide medical aid to the victims on my own. I was comforted when my United Hatzalah colleagues arrived shortly after me. They were friends of mine and even live in the same town. We worked together hand in hand and provided treatment in the shortest time possible. That is one of the beautiful things about this organization, not only is it a brotherhood, but one always has backup just a few moments away. I am proud to be a part of this family, and thanks to my fellow volunteers I know that I am never alone.”
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