Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Muhammad Aliyan.

Last Friday, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Muhammad Aliyan was at his home in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of Jerusalem, preparing to go to afternoon prayers, when the emergency application on his phone alerted him to a medical emergency in his vicinity. A 60-year-old man had suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on his living room floor. Worried family members called emergency services for help. Muhammad quickly checked the address and realized it was just a few blocks away in his neighborhood.

Muhammad raced to his car and drove to the address, arriving only two minutes later. Another United Hatzalah volunteer, Yechiel Mayburg, was already at the scene and had attached a defibrillator in preparation for performing CPR. Muhammad joined his colleague and the two of them initiated CPR on the man, whom Muhammad realized was his acquaintance.


After a few minutes of CPR, a mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and joined the effort. As the paramedic from the ambulance prepared medications, the defibrillator advised a shock which was applied. The man’s pulse came back and then quickly faded away again. The team continued their efforts and after a few minutes another shock was delivered with the same results, the man’s pulse came back and disappeared. But then, Muhammad recalled, “after the third shock was administered, the man began to resist compressions, a sign that he was coming back to life.”

Muhammad said that the success of the resuscitation effort was thanks to the combined efforts of all the people involved. “We worked together as a team and that made a huge difference in saving this man’s life. His pulse kept coming back and then fading again. This isn’t all that unusual, but it takes a dedicated team working together to save a life under these circumstances. Everyone has to chip in and help and I am happy that we did because the man is still alive today.”

Muhammad currently works as a physician’s assistant in Shaare Zedek Hospital and as an EMT Coronavirus vaccinator in eastern Jerusalem. For him, the story didn’t end on Friday with the man being transported to the hospital. On Sunday morning, while Muhammad was taking care of some errands nearby, he met the son of the man who collapsed on Friday. “The man’s son came up to me and thanked me profusely for our efforts in saving his father. It is a great feeling to know that I have helped and made a difference in the lives of this man and his family.”

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