On Shabbat morning, just after 10 a.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Avraham Farkash was walking to synagogue in the town Ma'ale Hever when he was alerted to a nearby medical emergency. Avraham’s communications device notified him of the address, which he recognized immediately, being as it was his neighbor’s home.
Turning around and running back towards his home Avraham grabbed his defibrillator from the car and made it to his neighbor’s home in under two minutes. The 50-year-old man had been suffering acute chest pains and called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center out of fear that he might be suffering a heart attack.
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As Avraham opened the door to his neighbor’s home, he witnessed the man collapse right in front of him. Quickly checking the man’s vitals, Avraham realized that the man had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in the throes of ventricular fibrillation, a dangerous heart condition that if not treated quickly can be fatal.
Avraham wasted no time as he attached his defibrillator, which advised a shock. After administering a shock and performing many chest compressions, additional medical personnel arrived and joined in the CPR efforts.
Two minutes later, the man regained consciousness and spoke to Avraham, asking him to stop compressions. Surprised by the man’s sudden change in condition, Avraham stopped with the compressions and asked the victim if he was feeling well. Avraham then proceeded to monitor that man’s condition for the next twenty-five minutes until a Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance was able to arrive and the man was transported to the hospital.
Before they left, Avraham briefed the crew on the very unique CPR he had just partaken in, and the victim thanked Avraham for saving his life.
“Before I moved to Ma’ale Hever, I lived in Mitzpe Yericho. There, a neighbor of mine had personally donated a defibrillator to United Hatzalah with the intention of me using it to save lives,” said Avraham. “Today, almost ten years later, before I got a chance to switch it out for a new one, my old defibrillator saved another life. Ma’aleh Hever, like many other towns in this area, is quite removed from the nearest ambulance, which is stationed very far away. What’s more, there are only three EMS volunteers in the entire town. I’ve used my defibrillator in many instances of cardiac arrest. Yesterday, as Shabbat ended, I called my old neighbor from Mitzpe Yericho and told him that the defibrillator that he donated just helped save a life. He was ecstatic to hear from me and to hear about the joyous news and the life that he played a part in saving.”