(United Hatzalah)
United Hatzalah

“I respond to hundreds of emergencies and rarely do I reconnect with the people who I help. It is very special whenever someone reaches out like this,” said the volunteer EMT.

By Raphael Poch, United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yoav Shemaryahu from Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel was called to a medical emergency in his neighborhood last year, during Passover 2019.

A young woman was in the shower, fully dressed and crying. As the first responder on the scene, Yoav asked the young woman what happened so that he could begin a proper patient assessment and take a medical history.

The woman, Hila Meuda, replied that she had been heating up wax in the microwave and when she opened the door, the bowl of boiling wax exploded on her face and her arms, causing second-degree burns. Yoav saw that there was wax that had attached itself to her skin and was not coming off in the shower.

“Hila told me that she had been preparing to go out to the mall and meet up with friends but her night was ruined when she suffered second-degree burns to her face and hands because of the wax. She was hysterical thinking that no one would want to be her friend any longer and that her social life would be over because she would have scars,” Yoav recounted.

“I work in Ichilov hospital in the orthopedic ward and I have seen burn victims many times. I began to treat her and calm her down, the whole time helping her to remove the wax slowly in a way that wouldn’t exacerbate the burns that she had suffered. Neither the girl nor her mother wanted her to go to the hospital, so they refused the ambulance when it arrived. I stayed with her and helped her with immediate first aid treatment, and her mother contacted a burn specialist that she knew to arrange for further treatment and care.”

A year later Yoav received a joyful surprise.

“More than a year has passed since the event, and last week I received an unexpected phone call,” he said. “I answered the phone and the voice on the other side of the call was one that I couldn’t quite place. ‘Hello, my name is Hila, last year you treated me for burns. I wanted to say thank you and invite you to my wedding.’”

“I was shocked,” said Yoav. “I respond to hundreds of emergencies and rarely do I reconnect with the people who I help. It is very special whenever someone reaches out like this. I felt obligated to attend, especially as she invited me now when the number of people who can attend a wedding is strictly limited.”

The wedding, which took place on Wednesday, with a small crowd in compliance with Covid-19 Coronavirus restrictions, was an emotional evening for Yoav. “I was so happy to be there and see Hila smiling and looking beautiful on her wedding night.”

Hila recounted the dramatic events of the night from more than a year prior.

“After the wax exploded, my mother rushed me into the shower. I remember screaming in pain and then less than a minute later Yoav was there calming me down and helping me. He spent hours with me taking all the burning wax off of my skin so that the burns would heal properly. He responded so quickly, long before the ambulance, and stayed for a long time afterward helping me.

“I wanted to say thank you to Yoav and to United Hatzalah ,so I invited Yoav to my wedding. I hope that Yoav and United Hatzalah keep doing the amazing work that they are doing for many years to come. I am very thankful to Yoav and I am happy that he was able to come and attend my wedding and take pictures with me and my new husband Roey.”