On Friday morning, at 9:30 p.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Natan Balti was in his home in the southern city of Eilat when he was alerted to a nearby medical emergency. A 35-year-old woman with a suspected psychiatric background was found semi-conscious on her friend’s apartment floor. Natan quickly drove over in his car, arriving at the given address in under two minutes.

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A United Hatzalah ambucycle on the way to an emergency (Illustration)

Upon arrival with another United Hatzalah volunteer, Natan and the second volunteer were ushered into the apartment by the woman’s friend who described that her situation had deteriorated. Natan found the 35-year-old completely unconscious and unresponsive on the floor. Unable to detect a pulse or breathing, Natan and his partner quickly began CPR.


In addition to performing chest compressions and assisted ventilation, Natan had brought his defibrillator with him and attached it. The defibrillator could not detect a shockable heart rhythm and did not advise a shock. CPR efforts on the woman continued for another half an hour until the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived at the scene. Just as the crew was walking in, Natan and his partner were able to return the woman’s pulse and pass her off to the arriving ambulance crew.


The woman was quickly transported to the hospital. The paramedic from the mobile intensive care crew suspected possible drug abuse, tied with the woman’s psychiatric background which resulted in cardiac arrest. Natan was later notified that despite successfully restoring the woman’s pulse, she passed at the hospital a few hours later.


The same day, late Friday night, Natan was enjoying Shabbat with his wife when he was alerted to another unconscious woman nearby. A few blocks away, a 74-year-old woman was found unconscious by her husband on the couch. The husband, who usually had a difficult time walking, noticed something was wrong and alerted the neighbor. The man’s neighbor called United Hatzalah Dispatch and Command Center, and Natan arrived just minutes later at the woman’s side.


The woman had sustained a cardiac arrest and suddenly collapsed. She had no severe medical background. Natan, arriving once again alongside another United Hatzalah EMT, immediately attached a defibrillator and began CPR with chest compressions and ventilations. The mobile intensive care ambulance arrived in just five minutes, and as the paramedic prepared advanced airway intubation, he was surprised to find that the woman’s pulse had returned, once again as a result of Natan and his partner’s CPR.


The woman’s vitals were checked, and the crew was surprised to see that the woman who had just gone into cardiac arrest, was showing positive healthy vital signs that could be mistaken for a teenager’s. Natan assisted the 2-person mobile intensive care ambulance team en route to the hospital. As the woman was handed off to the physician, the paramedic thanked Natan for his quick lifesaving interventions which in turn, saved the woman’s life.


“I distinctly remember the moment when the paramedic announced the 74-year-old’s vital signs, it was truly a miracle,” said Natan. “That was one of the moments where I could see the lifesaving work that I had just done. On top of that, seeing the 74-year-old’s condition post CPR compared to the 35-year-old’s condition goes to show that anything can surprise you, even when you expect things to go a certain way, they very often don’t.” 

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