On Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to go on an ambulance shift with the head of the Modiin Hatzalah chapter, Avi. Along with David, another EMT, and Moshe, the driver, the 4 of us set off at 5 p.m. We got our first call pretty early, an accident had occurred 5 minutes away with 2 lightly injured patients. We raced off, Moshe zipping through the cars, with the sirens blaring. As soon as we arrived, after putting on face masks and gloves, we all got out of the ambulance and landed on the street covered in rubble and glass from the impact. A confused middle-aged woman with a few shrapnel injuries to her face was taken to the ambulance while I retrieved her things from the car. We also loaded the second patient, a 19-year-old boy with minimal injuries, and whisked them to Tel Hashomer hospital.
After releasing the patients at the hospital we drove back to Modiin, chi-chatting away. After getting to Modiin, we grew hungry and decided to stop for some food. Avi had told me that stopping for food increases our chances of getting a call because that’s how statistics work. Magically, just as we parked the ambulance, we got a call and jumped right back in.
Our next patient, who suffered a lower-spinal injury, requested to be taken to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital by Jerusalem, and so we took his vitals and took care of the paperwork on the windy roads that lead to the hospital. After dropping him off, we began heading back to Modiin when we were located as the nearest ambulance to a medical emergency in Mevaseret. The call was labeled as a stroke, and so we rushed to the scene, as time is one of the most important things when it comes to a stroke. The patient was an elderly woman who had been sitting out in the sun for a while and was barely responsive when we arrived.
The woman was quickly taken to the ambulance on a stretcher, her 50-year-old daughter in the front seat, and Avi in the back with David and me. The woman’s level of consciousness was deteriorating rapidly, and so Avi decided to take a commanding position and asked me to administer oxygen while he connected her to an ALS monitor to check her vitals. Avi then wanted to give her IV fluids, but the woman wouldn’t take her arm off of its resting spot, which was my knee. And so, intertwined on a moving ambulance, Avi inserted a needle into the woman’s arm and caught the bain, but because of the woman’s history of blood vessel diseases, the route was not good for administering fluids. Avi quickly removed the needle and blood spurted everywhere, and I quickly controlled it with a gauze pad.
Avi tried for another route through her arm. After that was also unsuccessful, he tried her hand again, making sure that the blood had stopped from the first insert. Avi finally successfully inserted an IV line and she began receiving fluids just as we arrived at the hospital. We quickly transferred her to the emergency room, where her condition began to gradually improve, to the point in which the woman told her daughter that the EMTs were “nice people”.
Because of the time shortage and the emergency at hand, Avi had taken command and acted quickly, if not for us being at Hadassah in the first place, who knows where the woman would be today.
I will definitely remember this shift for a while.