Last Sunday morning, United Hatzalah volunteer Koby Absturdy helped a woman give birth to her sixth child in the family’s bathtub. “The entire thing happened so fast that just a few minutes after I arrived the baby had been born,” said Absturdy. “Had I not arrived when I did, the woman’s husband and children would have had to do the delivery.”
Absturdy received the emergency alert from the organization’s dispatch and command center at 1221 at just about noon and saw that the alert was regarding a woman who was in labor near where he lives in Holon. Absturdy ran outside, jumped on his ambucycle and rushed over to the address of where the woman lives with her husband and five other children.
The woman is a mother of five and hence was well versed in pregnancies and labor and realized that she did not have enough time to get to the hospital nor even to wait for an ambulance. She went to the bathtub and prepared herself to give birth there. The family called United Hatzalah knowing that they would send first responders to their home to assist and that is exactly what Absturdy did.
Absturdy, a 36-year-old husband and father of three, has been a volunteer with United Hatzalah for more than a decade. When Absturdy arrived at the family’s home he saw that the husband and the children were surrounding the bathroom attempting to help the woman give birth as she was about to begin active labor. “Literally a few seconds after I arrived the woman began active labor. I had very little time to prep as the baby was coming very quickly. Thankfully the birth took place without any complications and the baby came into the world just a few moments afterward. I performed a quick APGAR test and the child was a perfect ten, healthy and ready to meet her mother and family. The mother also made it through the birth in perfect health.”
Absturdy is one of more than 700 ambucycle drivers who make up the organization’s countrywide ambucycle unit that rushes to the scenes of emergencies on motorcycles that contain all of the equipment found on a regular ambulance aside from the chair, stretcher and bed. The ambucycles are used to allow responders to cut their way through traffic and arrive at the scenes of medical emergencies in as short a time as possible. These volunteer emergency responders make up part of the organization’s national network of volunteers that now numbers more than 5,000 responders who provide emergency medical care before an ambulance can arrive at the scene of an emergency.
“Our goal is to arrive at any medical emergency in less than 90 seconds,” said United Hatzalah founder and President Eli Beer. “Our average response time in Jerusalem and some other large cities already hit that goal. But we still need more volunteers and equipment to make that goal into a reality in the rest of the country where our average response time is less than three minutes. Dedicated volunteers like Koby are the backbone of our organization and are the people who will make this goal into a reality. The amount of people whom they help a year is in the hundreds of thousands and that is to their credit,” Beer concluded.