Shalev Muallem sits with Dr. Natalya Kovalov 390.
(photo credit: Kaplan Medical Center)
A boy whose schoolmate pressed on his diaphragm to try out a “way to feel high”
that he had seen on YouTube lost consciousness for 20 minutes on Sunday and was
saved by Kaplan Medical Center emergency room doctors.
The victim was
10-year-old Shalev Muallem of Bnei Ayish, who plays in Rehovot’s Maccabi child
football team. The “game” of chest-pressing almost cost the boy his life, said
The pressure on the chest, according to the video, creates a
tickling feeling on the arms, which “float” upward until the person faints. The
boy who did the pressing told his classmates, “If Shalev falls, hold him up.”
After Muallem’s whole body shook and he lost consciousness, an ambulance arrived
and rushed him to Kaplan.
Dr. Natalya Kovalov of the pediatrics
department said that pressure on the diaphragm can halt breathing, starving the
brain and heart of oxygen or overwhelming them with too much of it; there is
also a risky reaction in the nervous system. This situation could be fatal, she
Kovalov added that children had to be warned of the dangers of this
Muallem was admitted in moderate condition. When his condition
stabilized, he failed to recognize the people around him for a whole day and did
not recall anything about the incident. The medical staff conducted a series of
tests to rule out other conditions, gave him liquids and monitored him
Dr. Pini Cassuto, a senior medical psychologist at Kaplan, noted
that youngsters are exposed daily to information on the Internet and that some
of it can be questionable and even dangerous. They are not mature enough to
assess the data on these sites, he said, advising parents and teachers to
monitor the online material that children view.
Muallem’s parents added
their support for the doctors’ recommendation.