I was riding home on my ambucycle on a recent Sunday evening when United Hatzalah dispatch alerted me to a nearby emergency. The call was for an adult female who had fallen unconscious. I raced over to the address, grabbed my medical kit, and ran and into the apartment building, where I found an 82-year-old woman who had abruptly collapsed in her home. I was surprised to see she and her husband were none other than the parents of one of my closest friends.
An oral history from my friend’s father revealed his wife suffered from diabetes and had been feeling fatigued all day. He’d heard a thud from the kitchen, rushed there, and found her lying on the floor. He immediately called for emergency services and was astounded when I raced into their apartment less than two minutes later.
I ran to the woman’s side and checked her breathing and vital signs. Her blood sugar was extremely high, while her oxygen saturation was dangerously low. I secured her airway and then slipped the nonrebreather mask over her nose and mouth and began supplying her with high-flow oxygen.
I was relieved to see her O2 levels improve as we awaited the intensive care ambulance. It took more than 20 minutes for the vehicle and its team to arrive. When it did I assisted the crew in lifting the woman onto a stretcher and moving her into the vehicle for rapid transport to the hospital.
Three days later my friend called me with an update. His mother was still in the hospital but was thankfully doing well and expected to make a full recovery. He thanked me profusely, saying, “You’re an angel—you saved my mother’s life!” I told him I was happy to be there for his mom when she needed it.
It is incredibly powerful and moving to use the knowledge I have to help save someone’s life. When a family is in the middle of a crisis and does not know what to do, to see their faces light up and go from helpless to hopeful when you walk into the room is all the reason I need to keep doing this job. When I succeed at saving a life, it gives me even more drive to keep doing what I’m doing. And when I succeed at saving the life of my good friend’s mother? Even more so.
United Hatzalah volunteer Nir Bazak is a resident of Gedera in the Rehovot region of Israel. He is a father of three and grandfather of four.