One recent Friday evening I was just sitting down to a traditional Shabbat dinner with my family. I was in the middle of making kiddush (the blessing over the cup of wine that starts the meal) for my family and guests when my United Hatzalah communications device broke the tranquil atmosphere. The dispatcher urgently reported a baby in respiratory distress near my location. I spilled my wine on the table as I quickly put down the kiddush cup and bolted out the door.
Seconds later I was racing down the quiet streets of my neighborhood on my ambucycle (a motorcycle that carries all the EMS equipment an ambulance has, except a bed, stair chair, and backboard). I arrived in just 90 seconds, grabbed my medical kit, and ran inside. I was the first responder at the scene, and I was met by a frantic woman who ushered me to a tiny baby who was having severe difficulty breathing. I swiftly took out my oxygen tank and infant nonrebreather mask and, after opening the O2, placed the mask over the baby’s face. Another United Hatzalah EMT arrived and began taking vital signs. The oxygen therapy hit its mark, and soon the baby’s breathing eased considerably.
The woman then told me she was actually the child’s aunt. She said the baby was a 9-day-old twin, having just had his bris (ritual circumcision) the day before. The infant’s parents were in the hospital with his twin brother, who’d had some medical complications.
About eight minutes later the ambulance arrived, and I briefed the crew on the situation, specifically requesting they take the infant to the same hospital as his parents and brother. I then joined the ambulance team for the ride so I could locate the boy’s parents once we arrived. When I found them I informed them what had occurred and stressed that their baby was now stable but in need of observation. The parents were shocked yet relieved and grateful I’d come to tell them the news and that we were able to stabilize their other son.
I then returned home to my family and guests, who had waited patiently for me to continue the meal. I sat down with everyone and raised a toast to life.
Moshe Landsman is a volunteer responder with United Hatzalah in Israel.
(Photo - Moshe Landsman (right) receiving his new ambucycle)