Early Monday morning, the dedicated father, grandfather, and a Jerusalem-based United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Daniel Katzenstein received a phone call from his daughter wishing him mazal tov and telling him that he just became a grandfather once again. Despite the late hour, 2:30 AM, Daniel didn’t wait for the morning and headed out to the hospital to visit his daughter and see his new grandson.
On his way to the hospital, at 3:19 AM, Daniel received an emergency alert on his communication device regarding a woman who was in active labor on Pardes Street, right near his location. Without hesitation, Daniel changed directions and drove to the address to help the expecting mother deliver her baby.
When he arrived he was joined by United Hatzalah EMT Shoshana Priemack, who works as doula and volunteers in the organization’s women’s unit that specializes in assisting women in medical emergencies. The pair of EMTs assisted the woman through the birthing process and helped her bring into the world her new baby daughter before the ambulance had arrived. Shoshana and Daniel cleaned the baby, and when the ambulance arrived, they helped the mother and daughter board it to be transported to the hospital.
The pair of volunteers parted ways. Shoshana, who had started her night on a previous call transporting a different woman in labor to Bikur Cholim hospital just before midnight on Sunday, went home to sleep. Daniel went to the hospital, visited his daughter and new grandson, and headed back home to bed.
Just as Daniel was finishing his morning prayers and Shoshana was getting up to begin her day, they each received another emergency alert about a woman in active labor on Neiman Street in their own neighborhood. Both EMTs once again rushed over to the address, and once again met one another at the site of the emergency.
The pair went to work once again and assisted this new mother in delivering her son, also ahead of the ambulance’s arrival. After finishing their work they parted ways once more and both headed back home.
“I thought, okay two births and one transport was all it was going to be for the day, but I was wrong,” said Shoshana. Both EMTs were called out again at 9:30 AM to another active labor on Zevin Street.
“Today certainty has been a bit different,” Daniel said after returning home from the third birth of the morning. “I’ve responded to births before and even merited to assist in deliveries, but I have never had a morning with three deliveries in such a short time. These are people in my neighborhood and being able to help bring life into the community is very inspiring to me. United Hatzalah is based on the idea of first responders assisting their communities. Our volunteers are primarily active in the communities in which they live. I cherish helping neighbors, friends, and loved ones when they need medical assistance. Doing that and also bringing new life into the world is a special experience.”
Shoshana added, “One of the main reasons I became an EMT is to help women who are giving birth at home, outside the safety and comfort of a hospital, so they would have the most pleasant experience possible in that scenario. Having a woman at the scene to assist, to comfort the mother, and to be able to help her deliver can make a huge difference. If I can help with a positive birthing experience so much the better.”
The final birth of the morning was Shoshana’s 50th time assisting a woman in a home delivery since she began volunteering as an EMT.