On Friday evening, just as Shabbat was coming in, a 25-year-old man had collapsed in his apartment on Ya’akov Krol Street in Petah Tikva, due to drug overdose. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yosef Sweed was on his way to synagogue when his emergency communications device alerted him to the incident. Yosef knew he was needed and quickly turned around to his e-bike.

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Firefighters carrying the patient down to the ground on a crane.

The first to arrive on the scene was Chief Paramedic Avi Marcus and volunteer EMT Yonatan Cohen. The two located the man lying on his couch pulseless, and immediately launched into CPR, along with an arriving ambulance crew.

Yosef Sweed arrived just after four minutes and joined the duo’s lifesaving efforts stepping in seamlessly to switch out Cohen who was doing chest compressions allowing him to take over the assisted breathing. When a mobile intensive care ambulance from United Hatzalah arrived the crew attached a heart monitor and administered the first and only shock. For twenty minutes, the volunteers worked tirelessly on the overdose victim, until his pulse eventually returned.

“When the man’s pulse returned, he was due to be transported to the hospital, but the building in which he lived could not facilitate taking him down the stairwell,” Yonatan said. “We then called United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Alen Malka and asked him to organize for a crane to be brought over. We all assisted in transferring the man to his neighbor’s window, which was accessible for the crane. We loaded him onto the platform of the crane and the fire department lowered him to the ground to the waiting ambulance. If not for the connections of our network of volunteers, I’m not sure how the man could’ve gotten to the ambulance.”

After the man was taken to the hospital, the volunteers all returned home, and Yosef rushed back to his synagogue to finish his prayers.

“I am usually very active on Shabbat, mostly due to the fact that many emergencies occur in my neighborhood and I am the only EMT who is close enough,” commented Yosef. “When the emergency occurred this past Friday I knew I had to go and I was pleasantly surprised to see that two other responders had arrived before me. Thanks to my active service, my neighbors have begun to take notice and recently, two men from my neighborhood of Neve Gan decided to start a training course, after being inspired by seeing me constantly rush out to help others. This will be a big help to our community that could use more first responders. I am happy to be the local representative for United Hatzalah. I am very grateful for the opportunity to help others.”

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