IsraelSeen Exclusive – Doing Whatever It Takes to Save a Life
“My name is Adiel Agassi and I am a United Hatzalah volunteer first responder. I drive an ambucycle, (hybrid between an ambulance and a motorcycle) and live in the town of Alei Zahav in Samaria.
On the last day of Passover, we traveled to my wife’s parents to spend the holiday with them. I sent my family by car while I rode alone on my ambucycle to be prepared during the Chag and Shabbat in case of medical emergencies. I registered with the local United Hatzalah branch for Shabbat/holiday duty and was placed second in the rotation.
After a festive evening meal, I was about to go to sleep when my United Hatzalah radio alerted me to an incident of shortness of breath, but immediately another medic responded that he was already on the way. My children asked, ‘Abba, why would you go on a call (on the holiday)’ so I explained that even on Shabbat and holidays the halacha obligates us to save lives – and if there’s another call – it will be my turn!
Before I was able to fall asleep at around 11 PM my walkie-talkie came to life. A United Hatzalah ambucycle medic’s voice called out over the radio ‘medic 3545 in the middle of CPR and urgently requires another medic with an oxygen tank to assist!’ As I quickly dressed I heard my children call out ‘Abba your radio… hurry! It’s your turn to save a life!’
I raced to the address on my ambucycle, arriving in mere minutes. When I joined the other medic and the ambulance crew on scene the woman’s condition had deteriorated and she required assisted ventilations, which I provided.
The situation was very delicate as her blood pressure was no longer perceptible. Her apartment was on the fourth floor of a building without an elevator, and after about an hour of treatment, we began strategizing how to evacuate the woman to the hospital. We advised the ambulance crew to summon a crane from the fire department. The fire department agreed, and a crane was on the way. Unfortunately, the woman’s condition deteriorated further, and she required intravenous cardiac medications along with the ventilations and continued heart massage.
The crane operator updated us that it was impossible for the crane to reach the woman’s apartment, and we searched for a solution as we continued the vigorous CPR. At approximately 2 AM the crane operator updated us that we could move the woman to her neighbor’s apartment, where she would be lifted via the window down to the ambulance which would rush her to the hospital – which is what we did.
Due to the complexity of continuing CPR from evacuation out of the window as well as during transport the understaffed municipal ambulance needed our help, which of course we provided without hesitation.
We continued the CPR the entire way to the hospital, all the way into the operating room (which had been alerted and was waiting for us). At about 3 AM we had completed our part in the treatment and returned to our worried spouses and children, reassuring them that despite our long absence we were fine, as I explained to my children ‘we do whatever it takes to save a life.’”