Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
The scene in Modi'in, Oct. 4, 2021

On Monday morning, a 10-year-old boy was run over from behind by a passing car as he was riding to school on his scooter on Nakhal Tsalmon Street in Modiin.

The driver, 18, did not see the child and stopped his car only after hearing the sounds of the crash and the screams of the boy who was already under the car. A crowd of passersby began to form around the scene and emergency services were called.

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Gilad Peled, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, was in a Zoom meeting at home down the street from the accident when he received the alert. He apologized for leaving the meeting and ran out the door. He grabbed his emergency life-saving bag out of his car and ran to the scene on foot, knowing that he would most likely get there faster by running than fighting city traffic over the short distance down the street.

Gilad arrived in two minutes, the first EMT at the scene. When he arrived, many people were standing around the car and shouting about the child who was stuck under it. The EMT first lay down next to the car to comfort the frightened child, who could not move because his school backpack caused him to be pinned under the chassis.

While Gilad was speaking to the child and assessing his injuries, Shlomi Ben-Ami, head of the Rishon LeTzion Chapter of United Hatzalah, also arrived at the scene. He was on his way to work, but took a small detour to help with the emergency. Together, Gilad and Shlomi succeeded in releasing the child from his trap by cutting off the straps of his backpack and using a jack to lift the car.

The boy was then transferred to the care of the intensive care team that had arrived by then, and the miracle was revealed to the astonished bystanders: other than some scratches and abrasions on the boy’s face, he had sustained no injuries. The crowd roared with relief as the 10-year-old boy was taken to the nearest hospital in light condition for further treatment and observation.

After making sure the child was being taken care of, Gilad saw that the driver of the vehicle, barely 18, was in a state of shock. So Gilad switched from his role as an EMT to that of a member of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) and provided him emotional and psychological stabilization. Gilad helped the young man calm down and guided him through various breathing exercises so he won’t hyperventilate. He stayed with the youth until his parents arrived and took over.

After the accident, Gilad said, “The job of a United Hatzalah volunteer is not simply to treat physical injuries. In this situation, I understood that this boy needed help with the emotional aspect of the situation even though he didn’t sustain any physical injury whatsoever. After an emergency, it’s important to look around at the other people at the scene and see if anyone needs assistance even if they haven’t been injured physically. Often, the stress of an intense situation could affect them strongly and negatively and our job as members of the PCRU is to alleviate that stress and prevent that strong negative reaction from taking place. ”

Shlomi noted that “both pedestrians and drivers need to be extra careful and even more aware of the dangers on the road during this time of year. Parents must explain to their children that a scooter is dangerous and they must be careful riding it and never enter busy streets. Scooters are fast and small, so motorists are often unable to spot them, and when they do, it’s often not in time to be able to brake properly. Drivers must be mindful that in residential areas, especially near schools, they have to watch out for children to avoid tragedy.”

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