Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
Jewish and Muslim volunteers loading a patient onto an ambulance (archive).

Just before midnight on Tuesday in Umm al- Fahm, sounds of gunshots blared through the city. The attack was on one house in particular. A 19-year-old boy was injured and sustained a wound from a flying piece of shrapnel that struck his lower back.

United Hatzalah volunteer Paramedic Yaakov Levi from Hadera was driving on the highway nearby and was alerted to the emergency.

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“I was tired from a long day, but saving lives is my first and foremost priority,” Yaakov later said. He drove to the scene and arrived alongside a local ambulance. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Hasan Hasona arrived soon after on his ambucycle. He came as fast as he could from his home, as soon as he heard his communication device crackle with news of a shooting.

“Unfortunately, I have become accustomed to responding to acts of violence in my city,” said Hasan. “This is very sad and troubling and I wish these acts of violence would end.”

The team ran inside the targeted house to find and help the injured. “The house was covered in bullet holes,” Yaakov described. “There were at least 20 people inside, some may have been family and others friends and neighbors. Many of them were still scared of what had happened. We located the injured man before treating the others for emotional trauma.”

The patient was fully conscious and in deep pain from his bullet wound. The EMS volunteers helped him lay flat on the floor so they could have a look at the damage and provide necessary treatment.

Hasan said, “We didn’t remove the shrapnel because that’s a delicate procedure performed only in the hospital. He wasn’t bleeding too much, so that was good. We stabilized his spine to prevent any further damage and gave him medications and liquids through an IV. After he was stabilized and there was no further danger, we transferred him into the ambulance to go to the hospital.”

“The piece of shrapnel was caught on the vertebrae of his spine, saving him from major spinal cord injuries,” explained Yaakov. “He got very lucky. Had it been a few millimeters on either side, the situation would have ended differently. I’m glad we were able to save him.”

Discussing the cooperative effort of the incident, both Yaakov and Hasan said that they were used to working together to save others. “Even though it happens fairly regularly that I work together with my fellow Jewish responders, it always leaves me with a good feeling knowing that we come together to save lives. We are brothers in this,” Hasan said.

Yaakov added, “The mission of saving lives is not unique to one religion or one people. We are all together in this, it doesn’t matter whose life is in jeopardy or who I am working with to save them, the goal is the same and I was glad for Hasan’s assistance at the scene. We worked together well as a team and thankfully managed to stabilize the boy’s condition.”

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