Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
United Hatzalah EMT Soliman Jbari.

Just after 7:00 PM last Monday, Soliman Jbarin, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who was on shift as an ambulance driver with Iron Ambulance Service in Kafr Qara, an Arab town in Israel 22 miles southeast of Haifa, received an alert that a man in his 70s with a history of diabetes had lost consciousness and collapsed. Soliman flicked on his lights and sirens and rushed over to help the man.

Upon his arrival, a family member told Soliman that the man had been feeling ill earlier in the day. Soliman attached a defibrillator, and together with a family doctor who also arrived, opened up two intravenous lines to supply fluid and medication. Soliman applied oxygen and together with the doctor alternated between performing compressions and assisted breathing.

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The defibrillator did not administer a shock and the pair continued CPR for 30 minutes while waiting for a mobile intensive care ambulance (MICU) to arrive.

“In the Arab sector in Israel, there are problems with ambulance response times,” Soliman said. “That’s why United Hatzalah and private ambulance companies are so important to cut down this response time.”

When the MICU finally arrived the paramedic and staff joined the CPR in progress to save the man’s life. Almost 45 minutes after the original emergency alert had been received by Soliman, the team succeeded in bringing back the man’s pulse.

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be involved in EMS and be a first responder,” Soliman said. “I loved it. I knew that this is what I would do when I grew up.”

Soliman lives in Umm al-Fahm and works as a chef in a restaurant in Tel Aviv. When he is not in his kitchen, he is out saving lives. “There’s a lot of driving every day, and I respond to emergencies on the way as well. But I always make sure to do a few shifts every week with the ambulance service and with United Hatzalah, because this is what I love doing. I love helping people.”

When asked if he felt there was a greater need in the Arab sector, Soliman said, “We treat everyone, regardless of race or religion. While response times can be slower in the Arab sector, I respond to emergencies all over and treat everyone the same. Saving a life is saving a life. I feel that everyone has a calling and needs to learn how to save lives. Every family should have at least one person who knows how to respond to emergencies. Emergencies happen to all of us one time or another, and moving the wrong thing, or treating an injured or ill person incorrectly can cause severe damage and even paralyze them. But the correct action can save the same person’s life. Knowing what to do makes all the difference.”

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