On Monday morning, a man in his 70s was walking down Zevulun Street in Kiryat Ata, northwest of Haifa, when he suddenly lost consciousness and collapsed on the street. As he fell, the man struck his head and sustained a serious injury. Passersby called emergency services for help.
United Hatzalah volunteer paramedic Raz Diamand had just finished dropping off his children at their respective daycares and was heading back home to start his day. He had just pulled up to a traffic light when his communications device alerted him to the emergency just a few blocks away from his location.
Raz turned in the direction of the emergency and reached it even as the bystanders were still talking to the dispatchers. Raz was the first responder at the site. He pulled out the medical equipment from his trunk, which included an advanced heart monitor as well as medications that he would need to use to attempt to revive the collapsed man. With the help of a few passersby, Raz initiated CPR and attached the heart monitor.
The monitor gave Raz a reading that suggested the man was not suffering from ventricle fibrillation, but rather from a condition known as chronic ventricular ectopic activity (VEA), which can be a predictor of coronary mortality and even sudden death. Raz began to treat the man with the appropriate medications but knew that the patient wouldn’t receive shocks from the heart monitor as this was a different type of heart malfunction.
A few moments later, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shoshana Gutman arrived to assist. A Shoshana took over compressions, Raz administered medications via an intraosseous bone injection gun, and performed quick intubation to ensure proper assisted ventilation. After 10 minutes, a regular ambulance arrived and the team joined the effort to save the man’s life.
“We worked together as a team in complete cooperation,” Raz related. “I attribute this man’s survival to the fact that we worked seamlessly, and to the speed of our response. Without our quick intervention and the assessment from the heart monitor of the type of condition the man was suffering from and how to treat him, the man would likely have not survived.”
Fifteen minutes after Raz had arrived, the team succeeded in bringing back the man’s pulse. Shortly thereafter they managed to stabilize him. When the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived, they found that the patient’s pulse had returned and that he was ready for transport to the hospital.
“It is always rewarding to step out of one’s regular rhythm and be able to save a life,” said Raz. “It changes one’s outlook for the entire day and I am thankful that I have the knowledge and equipment with me that enable me to save lives and help people just like we helped save the man today.”