After returning to Israel, United Hatzalah's International Ambassador Gavy Friedson saves a life on his first day out of isolation
Gavy Freidson started volunteering as a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT in 2006 when he was just 17-years-old. Receiving one of the organization's first ambucycles, Gavy grew passionate to the act of jumping on his vehicle and arriving at the scene of a medical emergency to save a life. Since then, Gavy has moved to the United States and now works as a fundraiser to support the lifesaving work of United Hatzalah in the organization’s U.S. office. Gavy lives and works right outside of Washington. In addition to his fundraising activities, Gavy also acts as the Director of International Emergency Management and the Global Ambassador of United Hatzalah of Israel. Every year, Gavy makes sure to return to Israel for a visit, so he can still volunteer on the field and do what he loves most, save lives.
This past week, Gavy had just finished his two week quarantine period after coming back to Israel to visit his family for the holidays. On the day that he finished his mandated quarantine, he decided to take a walk in downtown Jerusalem. Enjoying the fresh air and relatively vacant street of Ben Yehuda, he noticed a group of people gathered together and surrounding a man who was lying on the ground. The experienced EMT headed to the crowd to see what had happened. When he arrived one of the gathered passersby explained that the elderly man had collapsed and fainted just a minute before his arrival.
Gavy identified himself as a United Hatzalah EMT and began checking the 80-year-old’s vital signs. The man had a pulse and was breathing. Gavy quickly noticed the man had suffered a head injury when he fell, so he used a shirt to staunch the bleeding while he notified United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center, requesting back up and an ambulance. As Gavy checked the man's vital signs again, the man lost consciousness, and soon stopped breathing and lost his pulse as well.
Gavy immediately began chest compressions for about 2 minutes until the first volunteer riding an ambucycle arrived at the scene. The team connected a defibrillator and continued CPR until, several minutes later, the man’s pulse and breathing returned. When the ambulance arrived the fallen man was semi-conscious and was quickly transported to the hospital for further care and assessment.
“When I saw the collapsed man, it made me realize how important our work is. Despite the fact that I was not wearing my United Hatzalah vest and I was not on a shift, I was able to save the man's life. I’m so grateful to be a part of a lifesaving organization, I have done many CPRs in Jerusalem over the course of the past 15 years that I have been a volunteer. Each time I respond to such an emergency it reminds of just how important our work is. Knowing that I helped save this man’s life gives me a sensation of fulfillment. Doing it on the day I leave isolation and am back on the streets of my hometown really puts into perspective for me that these emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. They haven’t stopped just because there is a pandemic occurring and neither can we ” Gavy commented. “The global Coronavirus pandemic has put significant pressure on people, their lives, their health, and their businesses. It has put an incredible strain on first response organizations the world over as well. It is for this reason that I know that I need to work harder and help make certain that United Hatzalah will always be well equipped and ready to respond to any and every medical emergency, whether it is Corona related or otherwise. In these challenging times, we are always on the frontlines, no matter where we are, we can always help another person in need. ”