Just after 2:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the second day of Rosh HaShanah, United Hatzalah regional paramedic Doron Shapir, was in the middle of an ambulance shift on the organization’s mobile intensive care ambulance in the Haifa region, when he received an alert to a woman in her 30’s who had choked. The ambulance team that consisted of Doron, EMT Amit Begim, and paramedic Uriel Ben-Court, were nearby the address where the emergency took place, flicked on their lights and sirens, and rushed to the address. 

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A United Hatzalah mobile intensive care ambulance

Arriving just a few minutes later, they were met on the street by a woman who flagged them down and ushered them into the apartment, where they found the unconscious woman on the floor and her father doing compressions on her. 


The team quickly moved the patient to an area of the living room where they would have space to safely work on her, and then took over compressions. The team attached a heart monitor and opened IV lines to administer medications, while Doron attempted to intubate her. Using his laryngoscope he opened the woman’s airway and found a blockage of food had closed her trachea. Using his training, Doron deftly removed the blockage and cleared the woman’s trachea, allowing her to breathe once again. She had been without oxygen at this point for some time and was still pulseless. 


Another ambulance team arrived and assisted in the resuscitation efforts. As the combined team began assisted ventilation and maintained compressions, they administered more medication and after a few minutes, the woman regained a pulse. Doron, Amit, and Uriel, prepared the woman for transport and took her to Rambam Medical center in Haifa for further care and treatment. 


“This was an incredible rescue,” Doron said after the holiday. “Everyone worked together seamlessly, both of the ambulance teams and the doctors and nurses in the hospital. We handed off care of the woman to the hospital staff smoothly and we hope for the best for this woman and her family. Responding to an emergency involving choking is always a serious case and I am thankful that we had an excellent team working together to give this woman the best chance of survival, especially on Rosh HaShanah.”


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