In September, on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Aharon Avital, Tomer Tzenani, Yossi Cohen, Naftali Friedman, Adi Avivi, and Lior Filshteiner were summoned to the home of Yaron and Limor Golan in Hod Hasharon. Limor had just suffered a cardiac arrest. To complicate matters, she was 39 weeks pregnant.
“I was sitting in the living room watching TV when I heard a noise in the bedroom,” Yaron recounts. “I saw Limor on the floor and rushed over and tried to wake her up. She didn’t respond. I called a neighbor for help. He began performing CPR on her. I didn’t know what to do, so I called the emergency number for an ambulance.”
Avital, head of the Hod Hasharon team for United Hatzalah, and EMT Cohen were the first responders at the scene. The pair arrived in less than three minutes and immediately took over CPR from the neighbor. They attached a defibrillator and administered a shock. The duo spared no resource in their efforts to save the lives of the young mother and her unborn baby. Moments later they were joined in their efforts by four other volunteer EMTs from their local team.
A mobile intensive care ambulance arrived, and after more than 30 minutes of active CPR, the combined team managed to restore a steady pulse. Limor even started breathing independently again. They rushed her to the maternity ward at Meir Medical Center for an emergency c-section, which successfully saved her child’s life. Limor was then treated in the hospital for her cardiac event and later regained consciousness there and awoke to meet her healthy little boy, the couple’s first.
‘The Most Moving CPR I Have Ever Done’
Later Yaron invited the United Hatzalah volunteers to reconnect with the family in the hospital. During the meeting, Yaron and Limor shared their profound gratitude with the team and thanked them for their quick arrival and lifesaving intervention.
“You saved my wife’s life and my son’s,” Yaron told them, “and in truth mine as well, as I’m not sure I would have survived this had they both died. You arrived so quickly and treated my wife with such expertise, commitment, and caring that I have no words to thank you. You’ve literally saved us. I now know that I have to do a CPR course. Every family should do this. It is imperative. I was upset at myself that I didn’t know what to do when my wife collapsed. You people, who don’t know me and don’t know my wife, came to save her life. You volunteered your time. I too will now volunteer to go out and help others. I am committed to this.”
“This was the most moving CPR I have ever done,” says Avital, who has performed dozens of emergency CPRs during his years as an EMT. “As I ran into the house, I saw what tragedy could befall the family if Limor wasn’t saved—Limor, who was unconscious; the baby, who was about to be born; and Yaron, whose life was literally crashing down around him in a moment. I knew we needed to save Limor and prevent this tragedy from occurring.”
He adds: “When Limor woke up on Monday, two days after the incident, Yaron called me and asked if I could come with the team who saved her to visit them and meet the baby. I gathered the crew of volunteers, and we ended up coming to visit them a bit later in the week, to give Limor time to heal after her ordeal and surgery. We spent some time with them, and I was pleased to see everyone was recovering. I have never seen a miracle quite like this.”
Limor and her son, once fully recovered, were released from the hospital before Yom Kippur.
Raphael Poch is the international media spokesperson for United Hatzalah, Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization.