United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Lior Eskenasy was riding his ambucycle down Ha’Amoraim Street in Holon Monday before 1:00 AM when he received an alert of a medical emergency in the building right next to him.
“I was returning home after dropping off an EMT I was training to help him gain some first-hand experience responding to medical emergencies,” Lior recalled. “It had been a long night. We responded to several emergencies, and earlier in the evening we had a refresher training class for the entire team in Holon, working on getting more practice at starting IVs. That was before I got the alert.”
Lior stopped his ambucycle, ran up the stairs in the building, and rushed to the apartment. “The emergency took place a few buildings down from where I live,” Lior described. “I heard the woman screaming on the phone to the dispatcher to send help quickly since her husband had stopped breathing. That’s when I entered the apartment with my medical bag and equipment. The woman was shocked to see me there so fast.”
Lior found a man in his 50s who had been suffering from a chronic respiratory condition and was having severe difficulty breathing. Just as Lior walked in, the man lost consciousness and collapsed on the floor. Lior approached him, did a quick check of his vitals, and realized he had no pulse. Lior initiated CPR, attached a defibrillator, and began chest compression. Two minutes later he was joined by another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, Hillel Hamoi.
Hillel, a father of seven who studies in a nearby Kollel, was also returning from the training class, having stayed later to practice and chat with some new EMTs. “I flicked on the lights and sirens of my ambucycle and rushed to the address where I found Lior already giving compressions with a defibrillator attached,” Hillel recalled. “No shock was given but we worked together alternating between compressions and assisted breathing for 15 minutes before the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived. Just as they were joining our efforts, the man’s pulse came back. Shortly thereafter he began breathing on his own. Once he was stable enough, we carried him down the narrow staircase on a backboard and loaded him into the ambulance.”
The man was rushed to the hospital in stable condition with a pulse and breathing on his own. His life had been saved.
“It was tiring, to say the least,” said Hillel. “After a long night of training and working with new volunteers, to perform CPR for 15 minutes with just two people was exhausting, especially that late at night, but it resulted in a life being saved, and that’s what matters.”
Lior, who serves as the head of medicine for the chapter of Tel Aviv of United Hatzalah and the deputy Head of Medicine for the Holon Chapter, added, “It was simply incredible to be a part of saving this man’s life so close to my own home and after such an eventful night. I’m extremely glad that it ended on a high note and we were able to save his life. That is what we’re here for and it is why we train and take refresher courses, so that when the alert comes and we are needed, we know exactly what to do and how to do it quickly.”