Volunteer EMT Demonstrates How EMS in Israel is All About the Community

Dov Rubin of Elad is a volunteer EMT who has inspired a community. Rubin, a dedicated husband, and father of 6, works as a food importer and has been volunteering for United Hatzalah for nearly four years. Rubin has always been involved in community work but was driven to become an EMT after witnessing a traumatic incident that his community did not know how to properly cope with.

Rubin was attending a late night communal meeting at a friend’s home when the friend’s mother suddenly collapsed. Rubin felt totally helpless as they waited for the rescue services to arrive. Fortunately, once they arrived, they succeeded in resuscitating the woman. The incident, however, left Rubin with a nagging sense of helplessness. “I knew that I never wanted to experience that helpless feeling again. In our whole community, no one knew what to do. We had to wait for help from the outside to come, and that was awful for us all,” Rubin recounted. Shortly afterward, Rubin together with another friend enrolled in an EMT course and joined United Hatzalah.

Dov Rubin

Not long after becoming an emergency first responder, Rubin participated in the resuscitation of his 46 year-old neighbor. 7 minutes into the CPR, the rookie medic asked one of his veteran colleagues, “What’s this guy’s condition? Is he going to make it?” He was a bit taken aback when his colleague responded “Well, he is clinically dead, but let’s just do our job and who knows?”  They continued intense chest compressions coupled with defibrillator shocks as they valiantly fought to save the young man’s life while the neighbor’s wife and children cried and prayed in the background. A United Hatzalah doctor arrived and administered cardiac drugs as well as more electric shocks. Suddenly, after ten minutes the man’s pulse returned!

Today, Rubin often sees this man in his synagogue. “Each time I see him, I relive the feeling of saving his life. It makes us both thankful for the bond we share.”

Three weeks ago at 8:00 AM, Rubin was alerted to a ten-day-old baby boy who was choking. Rubin raced to the nearby address, and arrived in less than 60 seconds! Sprinting into the apartment, he found frantic parents beside a baby who was already turning blue. The experienced medic swiftly picked up the baby, tilted him downwards and gave him sharp measured back blows. Immediately, the baby spit up the blockage in his airway, allowing Rubin to administer oxygen which stabilized the infant’s condition.

With the help of another United Hatzalah volunteer responder, Rubin carried the tiny infant downstairs to meet the ambulance, with the oxygen flow continuing unabated. Moments later, when the ambulance pulled up, Rubin handed over a breathing and stable baby to the crew for immediate transport to the hospital.

The parents were completely overcome with emotion at the roller coaster events of the last few minutes. With a choked up voice, the father expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Rubin for saving his son’s life.

“The ability that the organization gives us as volunteers to save lives in terms of equipment, knowledge, and ability is simply amazing,” said Rubin after the incident. “United Hatzalah makes me feel as if I am part of a larger family or part of a community dedicated to saving lives, which is in direct contrast to how I felt during that meeting all those years ago. The community felt that if an emergency took place in our community that there would be no one to answer the call. We had numerous incidents where a medical emergency occurred and no one knew what to do.

When my friend and I finished our training to become the first EMTs in our community, the entire community breathed a sigh of relief. People saw how effective it was to have someone from the community be able to provide medical support and treatment which led others to become certified EMT’s as well. We now have almost ten volunteers helping others whenever there is a need, and we are supported and embraced by United Hatzalah, which is our larger community and family. It really makes a difference for us. People feel safer and more self-assured that if something happens, we will be there to make sure that everyone is alright.”

Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah said that “This is the very reason why United Hatzalah was founded. We have 3,200 volunteers currently active in the field. We have another several hundred in training. We provide emergency medical response in under three minutes on average and we are continuing to grow. We will not stop until we have an emergency medical responder on every block, in every city, throughout the country, so that we can provide this feeling of safety and self-assurance to every resident in Israel.

If a medical emergency occurs, I want everyone in Israel to rest assured that someone nearby will be able to respond and treat the injured or sick person in a professional manner with the best equipment possible. No life should be lost due to a lack of proper and timely medical response.”

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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