On Sunday around 3:30 PM, a seven-month-old baby choked on some food she was eating in the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, 15 miles west of Hadera, and her worried mother called her sister-in-law, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, for help.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Sanaa Mahameed was driving her ambucycle through the city of Umm al-Fahm when she received the call. She quickly flicked on her lights and sirens and sped to her niece’s home, while updating United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center regarding the emergency.
Within less than a minute, Sanaa arrived at the address and took the young baby from her mother’s arms. Sanaa noticed that the baby was quickly losing consciousness and, without wasting a moment, placed the baby face down in her arms while cradling the baby’s head, and administered a series of measured back blows. After a few back blows, a piece of food flew out of the baby’s mouth and the baby began to breathe again.
“I joined United Hatzalah and became an EMT because I witnessed my uncle die when I was a teenager simply because help did not arrive in time,” Sanaa said. “I cannot express how thankful I am that I was able to be there to save my niece. This hits home for me in many ways. I think it’s important that everyone learn what to do in case of an emergency. These can happen anyplace and to anyone and we need to know how to help save the lives of our friends, neighbors, people in our community, and people in our own families. Had I known then what I know now, I may have been able to save my uncle. Thankfully, our family did not experience another tragedy today and I can still play with my happy and beautiful niece.”