Photo Credit: Avinoam Yaakov selfie / United Hatzalah
EMT Avinoam and Yankel in the hospital, Jan. 4, 2022.

On Monday morning, a man in his 40s was shopping when he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed inside a storefront on Ye’elim Boulevard in Be’er Sheva. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and Deputy Chapter Head of the Be’er Sheva region Avinoam Yaakov was at his home when he received the emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center.

“I rushed over to the storefront which was two short blocks from my house,” Avinoam reported. “When I arrived, I found an unconscious man on the floor, he was not breathing and had no pulse. With assistance from passersby, I began CPR. I instructed them how to do compressions while I attached a defibrillator. I then took over compressions and instructed the person helping me how to provide assisted ventilation. One shock was delivered. After a minute another shock was delivered, and then another, and finally a fourth. Other emergency medical personnel arrived and joined the effort. After the fourth shock had been delivered, the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and its team attached a heart monitor only to find out that the man’s pulse had come back after the fourth shock.”

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“After the heart monitor showed us that the man had a pulse, we switched to only providing assisted breathing. After two minutes, he began to breathe on his own once again. At that point, he was put in the ambulance and taken to the hospital for further care,” Avinoam recalled.

The CPR had been a success, but the story didn’t end there. On Tuesday, Avinoam went to visit the man whose name he discovered was Yankel. Yankel had been taken to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva and fully recovered by the afternoon. On Tuesday, he was recuperating in the hospital and awaiting a further procedure.

“It was very meaningful for me to go visit Yankel today,” Avinoam said on Tuesday evening. “It isn’t often that I get to meet a person whose life I saved and I am thankful that Yankel is still with us and that I was able to meet with him and recount for him what happened.”

Yankel was happy to meet Avinoam and get the chance to thank him for saving his life. “I don’t remember very much from the incident,” he said. “I remember feeling a little bit of discomfort and then waking up in the hospital. I was told that Avinoam did CPR on me and saved my life, including giving me multiple shocks from his defibrillator. I am very thankful to him and so are my wife and two children. I’m waiting to receive a pacemaker here in the hospital and then I hope to be released and go home on Friday if all goes well. Thank you Avinoam, and all those who helped save my life. I’m happy to be alive.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.