Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
Chezi Roth with his ambucycle in front of his liquor store.

A man in his 80s suffered a cardiac arrest on CHachmei Lublin Street in Jerusalem Tuesday morning. His worried family members called emergency services for help and United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center alerted the nearby volunteers to the incident.

Yehiel Stern and Chezi Roth, both United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs, were the first responders at the scene and found the man unconscious in the bathroom. They got him out to the living room and placed him gently on the floor. After checking his vital signs and finding that he was not breathing and had no pulse, they initiated CPR. They administered chest compressions, attached a defibrillator, provided assisted ventilation, and opened an intravenous line. During the process, the defibrillator advised multiple shocks which were administered.

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Minutes after Yehiel and Chezi had begun the process, a paramedic and another EMT volunteer arrived together. The combined team continued performing CPR, alternating between chest compressions and assisted ventilation while the paramedic administered medication until the man’s pulse returned. A mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and transferred the patient, now with a viable pulse, to a nearby hospital for further treatment.

Chezi, who has been a volunteer with United Hatzalah since it was established, runs a liquor store in north Jerusalem. “I live and work in an area with a lot of orthodox neighborhoods and I assist with many births,” he said. “When I get a proximity alert about an emergency, I leave the store immediately and put up a sign that says, ‘Gone saving lives.'”

Chezi named his store שותה הכפר, “the village drunk,” with a play on the word שותה, meaning drinker, which sounds like שוטה, meaning “idiot.”

“I’m very happy volunteering, and my customers appreciate the work I do,” he said. I do it with all my heart, no matter when or where an emergency takes place. During the workday, on holidays, on Shabbat, late at night, anytime I can help someone, I drop whatever I’m doing and rush to help. I am blessed to be able to do it.’’

Lechayim! which means “cheers,” but also “to life,” because who can resist an opportunity for a pun?

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.