Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Shimshon Grossberger, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and resident of Beitar Illit, was recently riding his ambucycle on a winding road outside of the city in Judea when the car directly in front of him suddenly collided head-on with a truck.

Grossberger quickly flicked on his red flashing lights and positioned his ambucycle to protect himself and the victims. He then radioed for help, grabbed his medical kit and began triaging and treating the four injured victims.


Grossberger focused his attention on the unconscious driver of the car, a middle-aged woman who was seriously wounded in the horrific crash. He took her vital signs while he instructed a passerby to secure the woman’s neck in order to mitigate a suspected spinal injury. Additional United Hatzalah volunteers arrived rapidly, including a doctor from the nearby town of Tzur Hadassah, Dr. James Tankel, and a volunteer paramedic with the organization. Grossberger had recently recruited Dr. Tankel to join United Hatzalah and was happy to have his expertise at the scene.

The highly skilled team attempted to perform intubation but, due to the high level of trauma the woman had sustained, her airway was obstructed and the procedure had to be aborted. The situation took a turn for the worse and the woman suffered respiratory arrest, putting her life in mortal danger. With time running out, the team rapidly performed a field tracheotomy and inserted the intubation tube directly into the woman’s windpipe and down into her lungs. The vital oxygen immediately stabilized the woman’s condition and prevented her from asphyxiating.

Shimshi Grossberger on his ambucycle.

Five minutes after the procedure was complete, an ambulance arrived and swiftly transported the woman to Hadassah Hospital’s trauma center. One of the lightly injured passengers told Grossberger the injured driver was due to marry off her son in six weeks.

About a week after the accident, Grossberger received a call from the woman’s husband who tearfully informed him that his wife had regained consciousness. The grateful husband then emotionally invited Grossberger and the other volunteers to their son’s wedding.

Thanks to the rapid and professional on-site treatment of Shimshon and his colleagues, this family’s celebration will be complete, with both parents and a special guest participating in their son’s wedding.

I’ve been doing this for almost 26 years and very few things move me and I am certainly not looking for any spotlight,” said Grossberger. “But this incident is one that is very special and gives me the strength to keep going. I feel that God sent me specifically to be at this incident. The highway where this took place is not one I usually drive on and is not well traveled. That day I needed to make it to Beit Shemesh quickly and I took the less-traveled road.

“That was the reason I was behind them. The fact that Dr. Tankel was in the area and able to arrive quickly and that he had just signed up with the organization and received a doctor’s medical, trauma, and surgical kit also saved her life. This woman received her life back, and I happy to have played a small part in making that happen.”

Eli Beer, president and founder of United Hatzalah, said, “It is our goal that no one who can be saved by quick medical intervention should ever die needlessly in Israel. This woman was one such person and it fills me with joy to know that our volunteers in the field were able to arrive and save her life. That is what United Hatzalah is all about and that is why we will continue our efforts to grow and put a volunteer first responder on every street corner in the country – so that everyone will be able to receive free emergency medical assistance in his or her time of need.”

The wedding took place on Monday, August 14, and Baruch Hashem the entire family was in attendance.

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Raphael Poch works as the Senior PR and Marketing Manager at Aish, is a freelance journalist, volunteers as an EMT and lives with his family in Efrat.