On Wednesday night, after an 88-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest in his bedroom on Ramban Street in Haifa, a group of United Hatzalah volunteers rushed over to his house.
Three of the volunteer EMTs, Miry Brach, Liat Anaf, and Devory Tolovitch, were driving back to their homes after finishing an ambulance shift when they were alerted to the emergency. They turned around and drove straight to the address. An additional United Hatzalah ambulance and two other EMTs were also in the area, and they, too, rushed to the scene. All of these responders arrived together in under three minutes.
The combined team found the elderly man’s daughter, 53, performing chest compressions on her father. Miry, Liat, and Devory immediately noticed that she was struggling both physically and mentally while doing CPR, so they brought her into another room and spoke to her as the other paramedics and EMTs continued the resuscitation on her father.
In the other room, the women switched roles from EMTs to Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit members and began to treat the woman by providing emotional support and psychological stabilization.
“The woman looked as if she was about to faint from both the CPR and the stress of the situation,” said Miry. “She told us that she had a very close relationship with her father. After many years of watching over him and taking care of him, she was overwhelmed with the fear that he wouldn’t make it. We explained to her that the medical personnel are fully trained and capable and that they were trying their best to help him. After a few minutes, she calmed down. Sometimes the emotional treatment can get overlooked, but it’s just as important as assisting someone who has been physically injured.”
The daughter explained to the women volunteers that her father had a history of health problems, but only a few minutes earlier he had felt fine. But he tripped and fell as he was walking to the restroom, so his daughter helped him to bed. That’s when he lost consciousness. She immediately started CPR and called emergency services for help.
The Resuscitation process lasted a total of 30 minutes, during which all the medical personnel worked together flawlessly and efficiently as a team. To everyone’s relief, the elderly man’s pulse returned. They fit him with an assisted breathing device and transferred him into the ambulance.
Once her father was safely transported to the hospital, the daughter thanked the women EMTs profusely for staying with her and taking the time to calm her down. She said that she felt a strong connection with them and that they were able to understand her even just from being with her and speaking to her, woman to woman.
After the incident, Miry said, “I was so happy that I was a part of helping this woman and her father that I was charged with adrenaline the whole night. It was hard for me to fall asleep afterward. This is what United Hatzalah is all about and I am happy to be a part of it.”