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This Man is Alive Because of You
Naor Cohen is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT in Shlomi, a small town near Israel’s border with Lebanon. Cohen was recently alerted to an emergency that occurred in a nearby kibbutz. A man had suddenly lost consciousness. Dashing out of his home, he hopped on his ambucycle and sped off towards neighboring Kibbutz Hanita where the man lived. Racing along the rural roads, Cohen reached the kibbutz in under 4 minutes.
Unfortunately, the small agricultural settlement had no street addresses. However, that didn’t prevent the dedicated medic from reaching the patient quickly. He kept his sirens on and adeptly maneuvered through the local streets and narrow paths between buildings until he heard a woman shrieking. Racing in the direction of the screams, Naor encountered a hysterical 40-year-old woman with a sobbing 2-year-old in her arms. Upon seeing the ambucycle volunteer, the woman shouted: “My husband is not breathing!”
Grabbing his medical kit, Cohen rushed into the house, finding a 45-year-old man sprawled on the couch with no signs of life. With tremendous effort, Cohen carefully lowered the 300-pound man to the floor and began CPR. For 15 long minutes, the devoted EMT singlehandedly administered intense chest compressions and systematic ventilations, keeping vital oxygen circulating to the man’s brain and throughout his body. Finally, other emergency medical personnel arrived to relieve the utterly exhausted volunteer.
About 5 minutes later, an intensive care ambulance arrived and Cohen assisted the crew to intubate the patient and administer cardiac drugs. For the next half hour, Cohen and the other medics fought valiantly as they waged an all-out battle to save the young man’s life. The man’s wife, while sheltering her daughter from the sight, nevertheless managed to watch the surreal and terrifying scene play out before her eyes.
Finally, after a full 40 minutes of rigorous CPR, the man’s pulse suddenly returned- the CPR had been a success. As the patient was being transferred to the ambulance, the paramedic told Cohen “This man is alive because of you!”
As Cohen rode home, he was physically and emotionally spent, yet at the same time exhilarated at having saved a life.