On Monday around 2:30 PM, a 60-year-old man sitting on a chair in a subterranean parking garage in Tel Aviv suddenly lost consciousness and keeled over. To the horror of the people around him, the man was completely unresponsive. They called emergency services for help.
Max Hockley a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah, was meeting up with a friend when he received the emergency alert. Max and his friend had been sitting on the steps outside a local library and were saying their goodbyes when Max’s phone went off, alerting him to the nearby emergency.
“Luckily, I had my Hatzalah electric bicycle with my medical kit with me. I always try to bring it on any errands I go on in case I get called to help someone. I am completely supportive and enthusiastic about my mission to save lives; I never want to miss out on an opportunity to help someone,” Max said.
Max flicked on the lights and sirens, strapped on his helmet, and headed to the location pinned on his navigation system. “As I was driving, I saw an ambulance coming fast down the street behind me,” he recalled. “Ambulances rushing to emergencies drive fast, but this one was extremely fast. I assumed that this emergency was not life-threatening because it was a generic call the kind that I receive fairly often. However, seeing this ambulance, I got nervous and realized that this emergency may be one of those where minutes make the difference between life and death.”
Max accelerated to catch up with the ambulance that was now ahead of him and saw a worker waving them down at the entrance to a subterranean garage. The EMT followed and drove deeper and deeper into the garage to where the unconscious man was lying.
As Max arrived, he saw a police officer on the ground leaning over the patient, already performing CPR. Max dismounted his bike and approached them. The man had no pulse and was not breathing. Max waited for instructions from the paramedic heading the ambulance team who was getting the equipment ready. Max got out the bag valve mask and oxygen tank as per his instructions. He then took a pair of sheers and removed the clothes on the patient because they posed a disturbance when performing CPR. Max replaced the EMT performing chest compressions and the team gathered around to assist with the resuscitative operations. The team worked together for more than 30 minutes.
Thankfully, the team succeeded in bringing back the man’s pulse. They continued to stabilize him and by the time the patient was transferred into the ambulance for transport, the team of first responders detected a strong and steady pulse in him. After the intense but successful resuscitation, the medical team, including Max, was ecstatic.
“It is a great feeling to help save a life,” Max said. “I want to add that every action in a CPR effort is important. For example, today, while the team was inserting IVs, I ran over to the medic bag, pulled out the needle disposal container, and brought it over so that it would be ready when it was needed. This is really mundane and seemingly not a big deal, yet it was something that I learned from previous instances where I was performing CPR and often gets overlooked. There is no need for everyone to waste precious time and go scrambling to look for it. I learned from the previous time, and this time I did it in advance to avoid wasting precious seconds. Sometimes the smallest acts make a big difference.”