United Hatzalah EMT Tomer Segev was standing on platform 2 of HaShalom station in Tel Aviv at 2 PM Monday, waiting for his train. Suddenly the PA system blared: “Urgent, medic needed on platform 2.” It turned out a man, 50, had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and fell down unconscious.
Tomer was not expecting an emergency and was without his equipment, but of course, devoted volunteer that he is, he followed the crowd to the emergency.
The man was lying on his back, unresponsive. His friend told Tomer that the man was diabetic, and maybe that had something to do with what had happened. Tomer took the patient’s vitals and found that he had no pulse and was not breathing.
Tomer asked the patient’s friend to contact emergency services to inform them that an EMT was starting CPR. He also asked him to please find a defibrillator and bring it over quickly. For a full minute, Tomer performed chest compressions, hoping that another first responder would come along and provide him with the proper equipment to save the man.
“I had no equipment with me, not even gloves. It was a little unsanitary in that sense, but I know that an immediate response makes all the difference when it comes to performing a resuscitation, so I started anyway. There was no time to waste.”
A passerby ran over with a defibrillator gripped in his hands. Tomer instructed him how to hook it up and continued compressions. The connected defibrillator advised a shock, so Tomer paused to administer one. He distanced the crowd and inspected the area to make sure that there was no water or other spills that could pose danger when administering an electric current.
After a few more long minutes of chest compressions, during which Tomer felt two ribs had cracked from the pressure, an intensive care ambulance team and another United Hatzalah volunteer arrived at the scene to help.
By the time the others arrived to help, Tomer was exhausted and relieved to have another EMT take over compressions. After another 10 minutes of CPR that included artificial respirations and incredible teamwork, the patient’s pulse finally returned.
“He started taking small, shallow breaths by himself but not enough to remove the respiration device,” Tomer recalled.
Once the patient’s situation was stable enough for an ambulance transport to the hospital, the EMTs packed up their things and carried him into the ambulance.
“I did not recognize the other United Hatzalah EMT that arrived with his vest and equipment, but he performed admirably and I really appreciated the help,” Tomer said.
“This was a stressful incident because I was alone, without equipment, for about 13 minutes. There was also a large crowd of people around me who were yelling and snapping pictures. The man’s friend was next to me and was extremely nervous the whole time. This was also the first successful resuscitation I was part of in close to three years. So, all in all, It was an intense life-saving opportunity for me. I have high hopes for the man’s recovery because of how quickly I started CPR after his collapse.”