When the Emergencies Keep Coming

This is the story of one EMS volunteer who while going about his daily life, ended up responding to 8 emergency calls back-to-back in one evening.

Late one evening last week, Avner Ben-David, a United Hatzalah EMS volunteer, was alerted to a fire at a store in Tel Aviv and immediately raced to the scene on his ambucycle. A few minutes later, he received an alert that another fire had broken out nearby! Since there were already enough medics on-site, United Hatzalah dispatch directed him to head over to the other emergency and Avner jumped back on his ambucycle, speeding to the scene and quickly treated two people who were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Avner at the scene of the fire in Tel Aviv
Avner at the scene of the fire in Tel Aviv

Another alert came in that an elderly man had lost consciousness. Realizing that all Tel Aviv ambulances had been dispatched to the dangerous, quickly-spreading fires, Avner knew that an ambulance was responding from outside the city, meaning at least a half-hour delay. He jumped on his ambucycle and raced over to the address. The elderly man was barely breathing and Avner rapidly provided high-flow oxygen, stabilizing the man’s condition and keeping him alive until an ambulance finally arrived.

As Avner mounted his ambucycle to return home, he was alerted that a woman had been struck by a car. Already on his ambucycle, Avner quickly changed direction and sped to the scene, arriving first. The 60-year-old pedestrian was bleeding heavily from a serious head wound. There was no time to lose. The experienced medic worked swiftly bandaging her wound, setting up an IV line, immobilizing her, and taking her vital signs. By the time an ambulance arrived 25 minutes later, the patient was treated, stabilized and prepped for transport!

Avner and other responders at the scene of the traffic accident
Avner and other responders at the scene of the traffic accident

Avner responded to eight calls that night! The dedicated volunteer finally returned home at 2:15 am, crashing into bed for a few hours of sleep before his day began at 5:00 am.

The next day he spoke about his efforts. “The things they don’t mention to you in training is how hot you will be when your adrenaline is pumping and you are racing from call to call in a vest and a motorcycle jacket. They also don’t tell you how draining it can be to go on a series of back-to-back calls like this. But that is part of the job and it is part of what we do. As any EMS volunteer can tell you, other people live because of our sweat and tears. This evening, like so many others before it, really brought home for me once again the EMS creed ‘so others may live’”.

About the Author
Raphael Poch is a Canadian-Israeli playwright, producer, director, actor and journalist. He is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah where he also works as the International Media Spokesperson and is the coordinator for the 'Ten Kavod' Project in Efrat.
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