Last Friday afternoon, a man in his 60s suffered a cardiac arrest in his furniture store in the industrial section of Holon, near Tel-Aviv. The man collapsed on the floor and passersby called emergency services for help.
Four United Hatzalah volunteers who were in the vicinity: Adir Sinai, Chaim Tapero, Jeremy Korchia, and Eliyahu Maimon were alerted to the emergency.
“I had just walked into my in-laws’ house to start the Purim Seudah when the alert came in,” recalled Adir. “I apologized to them and rushed back to my car outside and headed over to Timna street where the man had collapsed,” he related.
“When I arrived, I checked his vitals and it was clear that he had suffered a cardiac arrest. I attached a defibrillator, delivered a shock, and then proceeded to perform CPR. After a few minutes, I was joined by Eliyahu, Chaim, and Yirmi. We worked together as a team, alternating compressions and assisted ventilation until we felt that the patient started resisting,” Adir said.
He continued: “After another round of compressions, we checked for a pulse and found it. When the mobile intensive care unit arrived, they confirmed with a heart monitor that the man’s pulse had returned. To our shock, the man then opened his eyes and even tried to sit up – so we had to explain to him what had just happened. It was astounding to see this man recover so fast. This doesn’t generally happen, even in cases of successful CPRs.”
Chaim, who works as an Egged bus driver, also left his seudah and arrived at the scene on his ambucycle. “I was in the middle of the meal with my family when I received the alert,” he recalled. “I rushed over to the store where the man had collapsed and met Adir there. I’ll admit at first I didn’t think we’d be able to save him, since the majority of CPR patients don’t survive, but I felt that if we could save him, then this would certainly be a Purim miracle.”
“The man came through the CPR, opened his eyes, and even tried to talk a little to his wife and son who had been called and rushed over to be with him. We instructed him to relax and helped him understand what had just happened, that he suffered a cardiac arrest and was brought back to life.”
On Sunday, Adir Sinai received a call from the man, who was well on the way to making a full recovery in the hospital.
“The man thanked me profusely for saving his life,” Adir related. “The doctors had told him that our intervention was the key to his survival. I was floored when he told me that earlier in the day he had given Matanot L’evyonim—charity to the poor, a special commandment for the day of Purim, in the amount of 619 shekels. When I asked him why 619, he told me that this number has the numerological value of the Hebrew word for health – bri’ut (בריאות). I was stunned and didn’t know what to say to that. I told him that we were all happy to have been a part of helping him and that we were just doing our job and it was God who had really decided his fate. But I feel so overjoyed at having saved this man’s life on Purim. It felt to me like I had won the lottery.”