(photo credit: )
When a man collapsed in Tiberias last week and Magen David Adom's mobile intensive care unit was on another call, Eli Peretz, director of the first-aid organization's Jordan District, ran out of his office and saved the man's life.
Moshe Vaknin, 55, suffered chest pains and went to see his doctor. While the physician examined him, Vaknin collapsed and lost consciousness, and his heart stopped beating. The clinic's medical team started basic resuscitation immediately and called MDA, but unfortunately, the mobile intensive care unit was busy.
When the Tiberias MDA station staff sent an alert out to beepers in the area, Peretz - a trained paramedic - jumped to action.
Peretz said he had been working in his office when he received the message. He and Nahum Sagi, a supervisor, took an off-duty mobile intensive care unit and headed for the clinic.
"With our advanced equipment, [we] raised the level of resuscitation," he reported.
Peretz and Sagi intubated Vaknin and applied shock paddles, along with drugs and heart massage. After half an hour of intensive resuscitation, Vaknin's heart began to beat, and he started breathing on his own.
"We were very happy, as this is very rare," said Peretz. Vaknin was taken by ambulance to Poriya Medical Center, where he underwent immediate angioplasty.
Cardiologists there said Peretz and the others had saved Vaknin's life.
When Peretz went to visit Vaknin in the hospital this week, he found that the patient had already been discharged.
"I went to his apartment, and Moshe and his family received me warmly, saying I had saved his life. 'You saved me, and there is no greater gift than that. I have a new life.'"
Vaknin's wife, who was present during the resuscitation, said she was amazed by the MDA team's speedy and professional work.
You don't have to be an MDA paramedic to save lives. On Thursday, MDA is launching a campaign to encourage the public to take first-aid and resuscitation courses.
Called "You Owe It To the People You Love," the courses teach what to do in the critical minutes before an MDA team arrives. Call (03) 630-0222 or log on to MDA's Web site (www.mdais.org) for more information.