As of July 1st, United Hatzalah of Israel introduced a new division of services that will now dispatch trained midwives and OB-GYN nurses to incidents of unexpected home births. Midwives and nurses who have joined the program will now be dispatched by United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center to assist birthing mothers in their deliveries should they not be able to travel to the hospital in time.

Dr. Aryeh Jaffe who is an OB-GYN at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem and a United Hatzalah volunteer Doctor will be overseeing the program together with EMT-b Gitty Beer who runs the women’s division of the organization.

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Dr. Aryeh Jaffe

“As someone who works in delivery rooms, I see that the EMS teams, as good as they are, are often inexperienced when it comes to instances of active home labors. As a paramedic in the field, I have helped 55 women deliver their babies. Today, as I conduct deliveries daily, I see how much was lacking from the training I received as an EMS responder. If everything goes smoothly, then most EMS responders will be able to handle the situation, but if there is any sort of complication or emergency that transpires outside of the hospital, the training that these responders have falls short and hence the care which they can provide is also lacking. Thus, the difference between giving birth with a properly trained midwife or without one can be the difference between life and death both for the mother and infant, or an injury sustained by the infant that can accompany the child for the rest of its life.”

Dr. Jaffe explained where the idea for the new unit originated. “I had a number of cases in which I had to call a midwife that I happened to know in order to assist in a home birth that was taking place near where the midwife happened to live. After this happened a few times, I thought that it would be beneficial to patients all over the country to create this unit and be able to dispatch trained personnel who would be able to respond and give the proper level of care needed to mothers all over the country.”

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Gitty Beer after having just delivered a baby.

Gitty Beer added that the program will be starting as a pilot project this coming week in Jerusalem, and from there will spread across the entire country. “Since we began advertising the new unit, we have had dozens of midwives and nurses join and will now be providing a response in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Each new volunteer will receive an EMS birthing kit as well as an infant CPR kit that contains all of the medical equipment that is needed to properly assist in a delivery and maintain the health of both the mother and the infant should an emergency arise during delivery.  Our Dispatch and Command Center will now send the new volunteers alerts to their phone of birthing incidents in their vicinity based on their GPS location via United Hatzalah’s emergency responder application.”