It is always inspiring to hear stories of life-saving rescues. Amid the media rumpus that occurs around political events, elections, terror incidents, we simply don’t hear enough stories of life saving and doing good in the world. It is with that in mind that I decided to write yet another story of a life-saving rescue, one which is both inspiring and gives us a lesson for the holiday of freedom.
One of the most joyous and celebrated nights on the Jewish calendar is the Peasach Seder, a night in which celebrate with friends and family. We rejoice in those we share the holiday with and we commemorate those who are not with us. This year, another Zaidy will be present to rejoice with his family thanks to his worried daughter and a United Hatzalah ambucycle paramedic who saved his life.
Yossi is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah in Jerusalem who works in the Untied Hatzalah Command Center answering calls for eight hour shifts everyday, responded to a call
A woman was calling her 84 year-old father who lived alone. After many unsuccessful attempts at reaching him, the very concerned woman alerted United Hatzalah. Yossi received the dispatch and raced to the scene on your ambucycle, whizzing through the traffic to reach the mid-town Jerusalem address. “We have a special code for instances that there is a suspicion that there may be a medical emergency. I received that code and immediately went to the location. I was luckily already traveling on my ambucycle near Neve Yaakov and the call came from Pisgat Ze’ev.”
Fortunately, Yossi did not have to wait long for the police and fire department to arrive, as well as the man’s daughter who had rushed over with the apartment key. The key would not turn, a clear but ominous indication that the man was home and had locked the door from the inside. The police issued the order to break down the door and the fire department promptly complied.
As the only medical responder on scene, Yossi rushed in right behind the police and found the elderly man lying semi-conscious on the floor. The experienced medic assessed at a glance that the man had been lying there for some time and was in dire need of medical attention. “He was very cold due to the weather and not having received his medicine properly.” Yossi immediately ordered a mobile intensive care unit and got down to work. He quickly covered the elderly man with blankets to prevent hypothermia and took vital signs. He immobilized the man’s hip which appeared to be broken and opened an IV line to administer essential fluids. By the time the ambulance arrived, the man was stable and fully prepped for immediate transport to the hospital
The man’s daughter expressed her deep gratitude to Yossi for his rapid arrival and professional treatment.
Yossi is not the only United Hatzalah volunteer who is making sure that the elderly are receiving the proper medical care. Yossi is part of a United Hatzalah program called “Ten Kavod” or “Giving Honor” in which EMTs, paramedics and doctors who volunteer with United Hatzalah take time once a week to go visit with an elderly person around the country. Yossi’s elderly person is a 92 year-old holocaust survivor who suffers from a number of illnesses. “Often these elderly people are holocaust survivors and they have no one else to take care of them,” said Yossi.
The volunteer medics take the elderly person’s vitals, ask them if they are getting the proper medical treatment that they require, and help them make appointments or fill out forms if needed. Aside from the much needed medical help the weekly visits also provide the elderly people with a much needed relationship that they would not otherwise have.
These home check-ups have maintained the health of many elderly people around the country and likewise helped prevent medical emergencies among the elderly population. They have proven to save lives.
The volunteers who conduct the visits are not people who have all of the time in the word. Rather, like Yossi, they have full-time jobs and then leave their families to volunteer as a medic at the drop of a hat 24/7/365. The volunteers who take part in the Ten Kavod project are extremely busy juggling their work as well as their medical and familial responsibilities. If they can make time to visit elderly people once a week, then we can find it our busy lives to reach out to bubbies and Zaidies as well. Perhaps we can even reach out to some bubbies and zadies who aren’t ours and make sure that they too have something to look forward to in their day or week. With all of the hype surrounding social justice, perhaps this is a cause that we can cahmpion as well to provide some of the people of the elder generation with a meaningful relationship and the care that they need to ensure that they too can make it to the seder with their family again this year.
This year, let’s give the gift of making our peasach seder revolve around saving just one person, someone else!