Last Friday, just after 2 PM, a man in his 70s suddenly collapsed, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing on Karkom Street in Ofakim, a town some 12 miles west of Be’er Sheva. Passers-by who witnessed the man’s collapse called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch which alerted the nearest man to the scene, volunteer EMT Avraham Sabag, who was preparing for Shabbat at his home in Ofakim. He arrived in less than three minutes, the first to reach the scene, and was taken by the locals to the unconscious man lying on the sidewalk.
A man had started chest compressions on the man in an attempt to help him and was instantly relieved when Avraham arrived and identified himself as a United Hatzalah EMT. Avraham checked the man’s vitals and confirmed that he had no pulse.
The experienced EMT attached a defibrillator and continued compressions. When the defibrillator recommended administering a shock, Avraham did so and then continued compressions that were interspersed with an additional shock a minute later. A few minutes later, an Intensive Care Unit ambulance arrived. The mobile ICU team joined Avraham in administering two more shocks, before the man’s pulse finally returned. The team then hoisted the patient onto a gurney and put him on board the vehicle for transport to the nearest hospital for further treatment. Avraham returned home with only minutes left before candle lighting.
Avraham works as a school teacher in Ofakim, and is equally passionate about teaching and saving lives. After the Shabbat meal, he was out again, saving more lives around Ofakim.
“Saving a life on Shabbat or Erev Shabbat is very different from saving a life on a weekday,” says Avraham. “I feel as if I’m doing God’s work on His special day of the week. It has become part of my Shabbat routine to help people, and I feel a great deal of satisfaction when I do it. Saving this man’s life just before Shabbat gave me a special sense of fulfillment that led me into the sacred day and paved the way for more rescues over the course of the same day.”