On Wednesday night in Jerusalem, a woman in her 70s choked on a piece of watermelon. Her daughter immediately alerted emergency services.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Daniel Rosenfeld had just left work when he received the alert on his communications device. Jumping into his personal vehicle, Rosenfeld rushed to the scene, arriving in under 3 minutes. At the same time, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and Neve Yaakov Branch head Yossi Polichuk pulled up on his ambucycle. 

Rosenfeld and Polichuk grabbed their equipment, quickly entered the building, and descended the 4 stories to the patient’s apartment. There, they found the woman alert with a partial blockage of her airway. As per protocol, Polichuk encouraged the woman, who could barely speak due to the blockage, to cough in an effort to expel the foreign object, while Rosenfeld connected her to oxygen. 

Shortly after, United Hatzalah volunteer physician Dr. Yishai Ben Uri arrived. Taking charge of the scene, Dr. Ben Uri decided to transport the woman to the ground floor in preparation for evacuation by an intensive care ambulance. The joint medical team, which now included additional EMTs, also opened an IV line in preparation for potential anesthesia and waited for the intensive care crew while constantly monitoring the woman’s condition. 
After about ten minutes, the woman started coughing more intensely. Suddenly, she expelled a small piece of watermelon. Moments later, a much larger piece was expelled, and the woman regained her ability to breathe normally. The intensive care ambulance crew arrived and after another check-up, the woman declined to be transported to the hospital for further observation.

“It’s a great feeling,” Rosenfeld reflected after the incident. “Sometimes, the way to help save someone’s life is to be there and do the minimal treatment needed while not worsening the situation. This is what happened today and thankfully it was successful.”