That Time When a Jerusalem Man’s Life Was Saved Due to a Quick Thinking EMS Responder


In Israel, emergency rescues happen all the time, and they happen quickly. Israel boasts one of, if not the, fastest EMS response times in the world. But responding to a call quickly, and being able to switch gears and role with the punches once you get there, are two different things. For one lucky Jerusalemite, our responders are not only fast, but they are professional and adept as well.

The story is as follows:
This past Sunday morning just after 5:30 AM, a 30-year-old with epilepsy lapsed into seizures. His panicked wife called for help. Despite the apparent non-life-threatening nature of the call, Amit Kahn of Jerusalem jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and raced to the scene in mere minutes. He found the hysterical wife beside her husband who lay sprawled on the floor, showing no signs of convulsions. The man seemed eerily still. The experienced medic quickly checked for a pulse and upon finding none, immediately began CPR.

An intensive care ambulance crew as well as other United Hatzalah medics swiftly arrived and aided Amit in the all-out battle for the young man's life. Intense chest compressions assisted ventilations and two shocks from the defibrillator were administered, as the man's wife looked on in sheer horror and disbelief. Miriam Ballin, founder, and director of United Hatzalah's Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit was also dispatched to the scene. She soon arrived and began supporting and emotionally stabilizing the severely traumatized woman.

After 15 minutes of strenuous CPR, the man's pulse returned and his blood pressure stabilized. The CPR had been a success. The man was rushed to the hospital in serious but stable condition, and Ballin supported the wife as she drove her to the hospital.

“This is why I do what I do,” said Kahn. “It’s all about saving people when they need help the most whether the call is a life-threatening one in nature, or can be classified as less urgent, it is always important to get there as fast as possible because we never know what we will find when we get to the scene. In the field of EMS, each and every call may be one in which we can save a life.”

Kahn is an active volunteer in southern Jerusalem, an area that traditionally has fewer first responders than other neighborhoods in the city. “I usually respond to multiple emergencies per day. Something a first responder must always keep in the forefront of his or her mind is that you need to treat every case as a possibly life-threatening situation until you arrive at the scene and see what it is that you are actually dealing with.”