About three months ago an emergency call came over my radio while I was at work. It alerted me to a man who had fallen from a height and was seriously injured just a few streets away, on Rothschild Boulevard. No other details were provided.
I closed my business and jumped on my ambucycle. In less than a minute, I was en route to the incident. I took a chance and headed toward the middle of Rothschild Boulevard until more details came through. I prepared myself to turn in either direction down the boulevard, which bisects the city. To my luck (and the luck of the injured person), more information arrived over the radio just as I reached the street, and it turned out I was only three buildings away from where the accident took place.
I arrived at the location a few seconds later. Eyewitnesses told me a young man who worked as a window-washer was near the fifth floor of the building when something went wrong and he plummeted to the ground below. Two other responders arrived just as I began treating the injured man.
We began assisted breathing, opened an IV line, and prepared the patient for a speedy transport. A few minutes passed, and the intensive care ambulance arrived. The man was transported to the trauma center at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
This ended the story as far as I knew. Like many other people I’ve helped, I come into their lives for a few minutes, provide the best care I can, and then take my leave once ambulances or hospital physicians take over. I hope the help I provide makes a difference and they recover from their injury or illness. I treat them and go on my way. On that day I went back to my business, reopened, and carried on doing what I was doing before I left.
Some time passed, and two weeks ago I heard the man who fell off the building was alive and recuperating in the hospital. More than that, he remembered the first responders who arrived to help him were members of United Hatzalah. He had been putting the word out that he wanted to meet with the responders who provided his initial emergency care.
I was thrilled. I went to meet him, and the entire ride to the hospital I replayed the incident in my head. Then the moment arrived, and I saw the man with his family sitting around him, all of them highly emotional. I too was emotional. It isn’t often I get to meet a person whose life I saved. I was speechless when I walked into his hospital room. So was he. The looks on his face and the faces of his family members are all I will ever need to remember to keep going at this vocation to serve my community and help save lives. It’s a memory I will never forget.
Avraham Levi is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT who runs a business in the heart of Tel Aviv.