Life-saving heroics teach rescuer that there is more to life than meets the eye

Why I Became an EMT: The Story of Sharon Peled

“I was standing by the side of the pool. Submerged in the shallow end was a young boy, the age of three, who lay motionless. It seemed that he had been there for a few minutes. I jumped into the frigid water and grabbed the boy, brought him out of the water, and lay him down by the side of the pool. He was unconscious and was not breathing. I began performing the basic CPR that I knew on the child. The parents, who had been looking for their child for a few minutes already, arrived, and upon seeing what was happening began to scream. Everyone believed that the toddler, who had disappeared during a birthday party on the Kibbutz, would never wake up again.”

(Photo: Sharon Peled on her farm in Mitzpe Ramon: Credit: Courtesy)
(Photo: Sharon Peled on her farm in Mitzpe Ramon: Credit: Courtesy)

This is how Sharon began her path to becoming a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. “The child survived,” recalled Peled. “I don’t know what power came over me in that instant to keep my mind focused on what I was doing, but I acted and reacted with a calm sense of purpose. I simply performed the actions that I had learned in a basic first-aid course that I had taken. I was alone. I continued performing CPR compressions for a long time when all around me, others were frozen in fear and shock. A young boy was dying in front of me and I had decided that I would do everything in my power to keep him alive. When the ambulance finally came, I had already succeeded in returning the boy’s pulse and he was breathing weakly. He was evacuated to the hospital where he lay unconscious for three days before finally waking up.”

Peled said that the feeling she received when she learned that the boy had survived was “an unending sense of satisfaction. I saved the life of a child. I helped bring him back to his parents,” she exclaimed.

A few weeks later, while I was working as a hydro-therapist at a different pool, I was confronted with another situation which required me to perform CPR on a 70 year-old woman. In this instance I also managed to find the calm, cool sense of balance to enable me to act without shutting down or becoming hysterical. I once again followed the protocols and once again saved a person’s life. It was then that I realized that I was really good at this. I knew how to enter into a mood in which I was collected and calm in a state of emergency and I was able to deal with situations that leave other people temporarily paralyzed due to shock. I understood that I had a new calling, to save lives.”

Peled said it was after her second save that she decided to learn more and become a fully-fledged paramedic. “I decided to enroll in a course with United Hatzalah. Since that incident more than two years ago, I have been an active volunteer with the organization, having responded to tens of calls and saved many lives. I have continued my studying and I am now an advanced paramedic.”

Sharon, a wife and mother of three, lives in Mitzpe Ramon and is 50 years old. In her day-to-day life she runs an experiential farm for tourists called Mashkit. “For those who are interested in visiting the south, you are always welcome to come visit us at Mahskit and take a tour of the farm.”

Sharon is an advanced paramedic with the Negev chapter of United Hatzalah, and is part of the Negev Mountain squad. “I am telling my story to encourage others who may feel the way I do, those who know how to keep a cool head in the most difficult moments, to join us at United Hatzalah and help us save lives. For volunteers with no medical training, there are courses being offered to help bring you to the level of an EMT or higher. These courses are being offered all over the country. It is an investment that you will want to make.”

About the Author
Raphael Poch is a Canadian-Israeli playwright, producer, director, actor and journalist. He is the International Media Spokesperson for United Hatzalah and runs the First City Improv Troupe.
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