Last Thursday afternoon, Gal, a United Hatzalah volunteer from Or HaGanuz in northern Israel, and his 15-year-old son went out for sushi in a Netanya mall. A few kids were running around in the restaurant when one of them, a five-year-old, suddenly stopped and froze in place. Gal quickly went over to discover the child was barely breathing. His frantic mother explained to Gal that her child had a history of asthma and this was not his first attack. After the mother reassured him that things were under control, Gal returned to his son.
“My son is severely allergic to peanuts,” recounted Gal. “He has two EpiPens, one of which he always carries with him. One of the EpiPens had been misplaced and so we decided to go to the mall clinic to get a prescription for another pen. After finishing our sushi, we walked around for a while before heading up to the fifth floor, where the clinic is located.”
Coming out of the elevator, Gal walked into the scene of a crisis with the child boy he had observed in the sushi restaurant now lying unconscious, barely breathing, and starting to convulse.
Gal was at his side in an instant, assessing the situation. Suspecting an anaphylactic reaction, Gal asked the mother if her son was allergic to anything. She replied that while there was an apparent sensitivity, they were still in the process of discovering the nature of his allergies.
There was no oxygen or EpiPens to be found in the clinic and Gal was certain that the child’s life was in danger. Gal’s son handed him his EpiPen and with the approval of the clinic doctor, the EMT injected the lifesaving adrenaline into the child’s thigh. Within moments, the swelling and hives disappeared and the boy began to breathe again. He returned to consciousness and started to cry. His mother held him and hugged him tightly, crying along with him. Gal recalled it was unbelievable to see how quickly the limp, blue little body returned to life.
Fifteen minutes later, an ambulance crew arrived and the boy was transported to the hospital for further assessment and observation. Later, the family sought out the identity of their angel in orange and phoned Gal to express their heartfelt thanks. Doctors at the hospital had told the family that if not for Gal’s intervention, the little boy would have died since he would not have made it another 15 minutes until the ambulance arrived. The doctors added that from what they could tell, the boy’s organs had already begun to shut down when Gal administered the Epipen which saved him in the nick of time.
“My son almost died two years ago when he suffered an intense allergic reaction,” Gal recalled. “He was completely blue and wasn’t breathing. I saved his life by administering an EpiPen. Now, his EpiPen saved another child’s life. The mother told me on Friday when she reached out that Thursday, the day of the incident, was her birthday. She said I had given her the best birthday gift, her son’s life.”