Pnina Hadas had just finished preparing a project for her Hebrew University class just before 1 AM on Sunday when she received an urgent alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. A 47-year-old man had collapsed in his home on the nearby Shamir Street in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. The man’s worried wife had called emergency services for help.
Pnina got up from her computer, grabbed her vest, and ran outside to her car. She jumped in and drove the three blocks to the address of the emergency, arriving at the scene together with United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and ambucycle driver Shlomo Rozenberg, who also lives nearby. The pair of EMTs rushed to the fallen man’s side and after finding no pulse, attached a defibrillator and launched into CPR.
“This was one of the fastest CPR efforts I have ever been a part of,” said Rosenberg after the fact. “The whole thing took less than 3 minutes and we saved the man’s life.”
Pnina described the events as they unfolded: “The man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. I attached a defibrillator which advised a shock. Once we administered the shock, Shlomo took over compressions as I prepared to insert an oropharyngeal airway into the man’s mouth and set up the oxygen. But we never even got to that as the man’s pulse came back after the next round of compressions. Shortly thereafter he began to breathe on his own.”
An intensive care ambulance arrived just three minutes after Pnina and Shlomo had begun CPR, but by then there was nothing for them to do. “The ambulance team arrived and didn’t have to do anything, as the man’s pulse had come back and he was breathing on his own already. They opened an intravenous line just to make sure they could administer fluids should he need them while he was being transported to the hospital, but the lifesaving work was done by us on the Basic Life Support (BLS) level,” Pnina added.
Pnina, who was the only female responder at the scene, went over to the man’s wife to comfort her, once the ambulance had arrived. “After the man’s pulse came back and the ambulance was there, I saw that there were enough hands to help the man, and as the only woman present, I felt my services would be put to better use helping the man’s wife who had witnessed his collapse and was hysterical. The extra level of sensitivity I could provide proved to be helpful to her.”
Pnina is currently working a full-time job, is married and a mother of three, and studying to get an MBA in finance and management. She said it had been gratifying to be able to start her busy week by saving a life. “This is the greatest feeling in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to save a person’s life once before, and the rest of the day it felt like I was floating, it’s as if the whole day is a holiday,” she said.