Lat Rosh Hashanah, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs David Badar and Sasson Dabul received an emergency alert from a nearby location in Kfar Saba. They zipped through the narrow streets and arrived at an apartment building in town in under a minute.
David grabbed a defibrillator from the ambulance and rushed up to the fifth floor while Sasson gathered the medical kit. David entered the apartment first to discover a man lying on the floor unconscious and without a pulse, circled by his frightened family members who were attempting CPR chest compressions. David identified himself as a United Hatzalah EMT and went to work.
He attached the defibrillator and continued CPR. During the rounds of compressions, the defibrillator advised 3 shocks. At that point, Sasson arrived with an IV line. As David continued with chest compressions, the 60-year-old man’s pulse fluctuated, returning and then going asystole again for many minutes.
Asystole is the most serious form of cardiac arrest and it is usually irreversible.
David and Sasson refused to give up. A few minutes later, fellow United Hatzalah EMT Ran Vaizman came upstairs and helped the pair of EMTs by taking turns performing assisted breathing and compressions.
Fifteen minutes later, another ambulance team arrived and joined in the effort. Together the volunteers transported the man down five flights of stairs and into the ambulance, to evacuate him to the nearest hospital. The man was still unconscious on arrival, but he had a pulse and regular blood pressure.
David was forced to take two days off from work to recover from the intense CPR he had performed on the man, which caused him severe back pains.
Another United Hatzalah volunteer, Tamar Greenbaum Ben-Ari, was working at the hospital when the patient arrived and stayed in contact with David, updating him on the man’s condition. Thank God, the man made a full recovery, and right before he was released from the hospital, David and Sasson came to visit him.
“Seeing the patient alive and getting ready to go home was very emotional,” Sasson confessed. “It was more emotional for me than even the other emergency I responded to that day, delivering a new baby. Seeing the patient fully recovered was far more moving for me. The first time I saw him he was so close to death. Now he was recovered and had a big smile on his face. Knowing that I took part in that miracle, well it changes one’s perspective on a lot of things. The doctors told David and me that if the patient were brought in any later, he wouldn’t be here today. That phrase lives with me now. I have the power to save someone’s life, and it’s a gift I cherish.”
On Monday, all four EMTs who were involved in saving the man’s life were invited to his home for a reunion. The family thanked the volunteers and United Hatzalah for saving the life of their father and husband. The volunteers told the man and his family about what United Hatzalah does, its values and purpose, but little explanation was necessary as the man was living proof of why the organization exists.
“When I was performing CPR on him, I felt his pulse returning and then fading over and over again. I felt that I was fighting with the angel of death,” David said. “Later, when the patient and I were joking around I told him that I had blown out my back during the CPR. He was apologetic and felt sorry, but I told him that some back pain was worth it if it meant having him here with us today, alive.”