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Why We Need A Countywide EMS Network – How an EMT Responded to a Stabbing Victim Over 100 Miles Away in Under 2 Minutes
On Friday night, a 50-year-old man was stabbed by a Palestinian attacker in the Dekel neighborhood of the town of Efrat, near the victim’s home. The town’s security force, as well as the IDF, were called in to locate the perpetrator while United Hatzalah volunteers were called to treat the injured victim.
Lahav Meuda, a volunteer EMT with the organization who lives in Yokneam, was visiting his in-laws in Efrat for the weekend. Meuda responded to the attack and treated the victim. He spoke about his experience in responding to a terror attack, which was a first for the EMT.
“I was visiting my wife’s parents for the weekend, and I had alerted the United Hatzalah response team in Efrat that I would be there. As soon as the town’s security force got the call about the attack, I received a call from the United Hatzalah National Command Center in Jerusalem. They dispatched me to the scene and I arrived in less than two minutes. I began treating the victim for multiple stab wounds together with other EMTs from the area,” explained Meuda.
“The terrorist was still at large when we began treating the stabbing victim, so security forces formed a safety perimeter around us as we brought the victim inside a nearby house for protection. Thankfully, the victim was only lightly wounded and the treatment we provided was successful in stabilizing him. His wounds could have been far worse had the location of the wounds been a few centimeters over. I was happy to be able to provide assistance, and even though I don’t live there I consider myself lucky that I was nearby in order to be able to help.”
The victim had sustained two stab wounds to the neck and two stab wounds to his back. After he received stabilizing treatment by Meuda and other EMS personnel, he was transported by ambulance to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Meuda, who has been with United Hatzalah for a bit more than three years, is not used to treating terror victims. The experienced ambucycle driver has a lot more experience in treating car accidents, minor injuries, ill and elderly people. He was recently involved in helping evacuate civilians during the wildfires that torched various neighborhoods in Haifa. The one experience that Meuda has with terror occurred when he treated one of the victims of a car-ramming attack near the Gilo Tunnels Checkpoint in 2014.
“It is simply amazing that I can come visit my in-laws, half a country away, and still respond to emergencies and be able to help people,” said Meuda. “We are a network of people who help people whenever and wherever we can, and that is one of the amazing things about this organization. That help comes from people who care.”
Meuda added a personal story that left a mark on him and stays with him whenever he goes out on an emergency call. “I arrived at the home of an elderly man and treated him for a medical condition that he had been dealing with at the time. At the end of my helping him, he asked me ‘How much do I owe you?’. I told him that he owed me nothing and that all treatments by our United Hatzalah are free of charge. I felt so good saying that. To me, it symbolizes that we are an organization of the people, for the people. We aren’t a government sponsored organization, we don’t take money for treatment or transportation. We simply care. To me, that is what being an EMT is all about, and that means the world to me as a volunteer. It makes me so proud to be able to be a part of an organization whose sole purpose is to help people as fast and as best as they can. By creating a network of 3,000 volunteers who are spread across the country, United Hatzalah enabled me, an EMT from Yokneam, a city in Israel’s north, to save the life of a terror victim in Efrat more than one hundred miles away.”