Muslim and Jewish EMT volunteers join forces, resuscitate Ein Nakuba woman

Muslim and Jewish United Hatzalah volunteers successfully resuscitated a 50-year-old-woman whose heart rhythm was undetectable for ten minutes after collapsing in her front yard.

United Hatzalah first response EMS volunteers in Husan  (photo credit: UNITE HATZALAH WEST BANK)
United Hatzalah first response EMS volunteers in Husan
(photo credit: UNITE HATZALAH WEST BANK)

A 50-year-old woman collapsed and was lying unresponsive in her front yard on Monday night in the Arab village, Ein Nakuba, west of Jerusalem.

Jewish and Muslim United Hatzalah EMT volunteers worked together to resuscitate the woman. 

Muslim EMT volunteer Samr Salama was the first responder on the scene who arrived as soon as he got notified of the incident and connected his defibrillator to the woman and performed chest compressions. The woman did not have a pulse at this time.

Soon more EMTs arrived including, Dovi Bash, a Jewish volunteer who was at synagogue at the time of the incident and came as fast as he could to help. 

The woman's heart rate was undetected by a defibrillator for around ten minutes while volunteers performed compressions and ventilated a bag valve mask (BVM). 

Three women EMT volunteers of United Hatzalah after finishing an ambulance shift in Jerusalem, one haredi, one religious Muslim, and one secular. (credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)Three women EMT volunteers of United Hatzalah after finishing an ambulance shift in Jerusalem, one haredi, one religious Muslim, and one secular. (credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)

Once the intense care ambulance arrived and the patient had been administered medications and fluid via an IV, the heart monitor showed the patient's pulse had "returned to a steady rhythm of 140 bpm". The woman was taken to the hospital for further care and recovery. 

Bash pointed out the extraordinary teamwork of everyone at the scene. “In general, I am always pleased that the United Hatzalah volunteers, and the patients that we treat, come from all different races and religions and that we work together as a team with no discrimination. It always feels good to go home for the night after saving a life.”

Speaking about the experience, Salma said: "This was one of the hardest resuscitations I've been a part of, but I'm just happy that the resuscitation went smoothly and that the woman is okay and I thank my fellow responders for joining me in saving the woman’s life.” 

"The team was relieved and excited that they had just witnessed a miracle" after some members were losing hope that they could successfully resuscitate her, according to the press release. 

This past July Jewish and Muslim EMTs similarly came together to save a woman's life in Pisgat Zeev in Jerusalem. One of the volunteers on the scene said, "I help everyone in need regardless of who they are." 

In October, United Hatzalah held a mass casualty incident training exercise for its women's unit which has 150 Jewish and Muslim volunteers who serve their religious communities throughout Israel where an extra level of sensitivity is requested.

These efforts have brought together Jewish and Muslim volunteers to save lives despite race and religion.