Photo Credit: Yechiel Gurfein / United Hatzalah
United Hatzalah dispatcher instructing a caller on how to treat a patient while dispatching EMTs to the scene.

On Monday afternoon, a man who had been taking a break between x-rays at his dentist’s office on Habanai Street in Holon suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. The man’s son asked the secretary to call for help. She called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center.

Hatzalah dispatcher Chanoch Re’em, who himself is an experienced EMT, answered the phone and began instructing the secretary and the staff at the dentist’s office on how to perform CPR. The team attached a defibrillator that was located in the office for just such an emergency and the 59-year-old patient received a shock from the device. The staff then performed CPR compressions while continuing to receive instructions from Chanoch.

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“I’ve been a dispatcher for a while and instructed people on how to do CPR fairly often,” Re’em said. “Unfortunately, it is common for us to receive such emergency calls. The most important thing for people to do is maintain calm and follow the instructions on how to perform basic CPR while waiting for help to arrive. Thankfully, United Hatzalah volunteers are quick and in this case, the staff at the dentist’s office reacted impeccably to the incident and did everything they needed to do until our volunteers had arrived at the scene and taken over.”

A few minutes after the initial call for help, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and ambucycle driver Benny Manala rushed into the dentist’s office and took over performing CPR. Manala lives in Ashdod but was driving through Holon on his way back from his office in Or Yehuda.

Manala set up an Ambu BVM (bag valve mask) and then took over compressions as another EMT, Hill Hamoi, had rushed in, followed by Roee Morer who, in addition to being an EMT, is also a police officer.

The team alternated between compressions and providing assisted ventilation and they opened an intravenous line through which the dentist administered adrenaline. As additional EMTs were arriving, the team maintained a quick rate of compressions, and the defibrillator administered 9 shocks to the patient. An ambulance came some 15 minutes after the initial emergency call, but by then the team had managed to bring back the man’s pulse. Together with the ambulance team they stabilized the man and prepared him for transport to the hospital for further treatment and observation.

Morer spoke about the dramatic rescue after the man had been driven to the hospital, and said: “My whole life is saving lives. Whenever I arrive at an emergency scene, especially when I am on duty as a police officer, everyone knows that if needed I would switch hats immediately and begin providing emergency medical care. I think every police officer needs to take EMT training. We are most often the first ones at the scene of an emergency and it doesn’t matter what the emergency is. It could be a case of a violent dispute between neighbors or family members, a fire, a car accident, a case of choking, or a suspicious incident involving a threat to human life, often the police are there first and as such we can provide initial medical care while waiting for additional first responders to arrive. This way I have helped save many lives over the course of my career. My United Hatzalah training has allowed me to do just that and I am very thankful for it.”

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