Illustrative - paramedic performing CPR. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Illustrative - paramedic performing CPR

Volunteer EMTs with United Hatzalah get call from neighbor after her husband collapses, arrive just in time to revive him with CPR and defibrillator.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The power of medical volunteers was proven again last week when United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Talia Brauer and Tina Berkowitz got a frantic call from a neighbor whose husband was feeling sick.

Talia dropped what she was doing and rushed over to the neighbor’s house in the town of Ein Hod in a remote area of the Hof HaCarmel region near Haifa.

When she arrived, she found the man had already collapsed after suffering a heart attack, apparently due to ventricular fibrillation – his heart was beating with rapid, erratic electrical impulses and not pumping blood. Within a short time he would be dead.

Tina, who also lives in the neighborhood, received the alert from United Hatzalah’s dispatch and command center and rushed over to the address where she found Talia performing CPR.

“The man is my neighbor. I see him all the time,” said Tina.

Looking back at the incident, Talia described the tension and it became clear that the paramedics had arrived just in time.

“When I arrived, the man was semi-conscious. Together with his wife, I lowered him off of his chair and onto the floor, and a few seconds later he was unconscious. I began CPR and asked his wife to attach the defibrillator, but she panicked,” Talia explained.

“Tina arrived and attached the defibrillator, and a few seconds after we delivered one shock, the man was revived.”

When he returned to consciousness, he looked at me and said; “Thank you for saving my life.”

I told him. “The whole town still needs you. It isn’t your time to go.”

The paramedics were amazed with the results.

“Not only did he regain a pulse, he even regained consciousness. It was like you see it on TV and that rarely happens in real life,” Tina said.

“The man is in his 60s and still has some children living with him. He has a history of cardiac issues. I am so thankful that God sent him back to us. He woke up after one shock, and the first thing he asked was ‘where are my children?’”

As the paramedics waited for the ambulance to arrive, Tina consoled the wife and children and explained what had happened in the hopes that it would help them calm down, while Talia continued to treat the patient and made sure that he was stable until he could be transferred to a hospital.

The two women belong to United Hatzalah of Israel, the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization that provides free emergency medical first response throughout the country.

The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, thanked the pair for saving his life.

“When I felt ill, I knew that I was suffering a heart attack. I’ve had them before. I went into my house, chewed some aspirin, told my wife to call Talia, who is on the rescue team of the town and who I know is a United Hatzalah volunteer,” he said.

“As soon as I was done drinking the water with my aspirin, I collapsed. The next thing I knew, Talia and Tina were leaning over me and I woke up with a defibrillator attached to me. I want to thank Talia, Tina, and United Hatzalah for being there for me and saving my life.”

“The fact that Talia had a defibrillator on her was what saved me because a person doesn’t come back from ventricular fibrillation without a defibrillator.”

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