Photo Credit: Courtesy of United Hatzalah
United Hatzalah ambulance waiting on the tarmac.United Hatzalah ambulance waiting on the tarmac.

A little over a week ago, a complex plan was undertaken to bring a woman home to Israel after a severe asthma attack in Chicago that left her in a vegetative state. The plan involved free ambulance transport the woman received after landing in Israel.

The woman called Chicago Hatzolah for help During the asthma attack and collapsed after the EMTs had arrived. She lost consciousness and was saved by the Chicago Hatzolah first responders, but entered a vegetative state.


Since the woman is an Israeli citizen, her family requested that she be transported to Israel for medical care. Having spent what little savings they had on arranging a flight for her to come home, the family was left with no financial means to arrange for transport once she landed. They turned to United Hatzalah of Israel for assistance.

Without hesitation, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Chani Vaknin and Director of Medical Services Avi Marcus agreed to pick up the woman at Ben Gurion International and bring her to Shaare Zedek free of charge.

The woman was accompanied on the plane by David Sofer, a paramedic living in New York City. Together with a physician who had been monitoring the woman in Chicago, David flew with the woman to Israel, provided her with oxygen supply and other necessary medical provisions.

Upon landing, the woman, David, and the accompanying physician were met by United Hatzalah’s Chani and Avi who brought with them a fully equipped mobile intensive care ambulances. The woman was immediately put on the ambulance and transferred to Shaare Zedek hospital, where family members thanked the United Hatzalah volunteers for their service.

“The woman was in a vegetative state,” said Avi. “There wasn’t much we could do to improve her situation. But we still offered her the best service we could. It’s what United Hatzalah does. Pulling together an elaborate plan for the safe transport of one elderly woman is typical behavior for the organization, whose mission statement says every person deserves the highest level of medical care and assistance, free of charge.”


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