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Fighting Through Pain to Save Lives

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As a United Hatzalah volunteer, I face new emergency calls and challenges every single day -- last Thursday was no exception.

At 10:13 in the morning, a frantic call came into United Hatzalah's emergency hotline, 1221, about an unconscious 18 month-old child. Using our GPS-based control center, United Hatzalah dispatchers identified me as the nearest medic.

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When I received the call about the unconscious child, who was nearby at a special-needs daycare center in Jerusalem's Ramot quarter, I dropped what I was doing and raced down a flight of rain slicked stairs. Running as fast as I could, I slipped and fell down the wet stairs landing on my unsteady ankle.

Immediate and excruciating pain rushed through my body, but my adrenalin and realization that a child's life was on the line kept me in motion. I was able to make it to my car and drive to the scene, where I met three other United Hatzalah volunteers who were treating the convulsing young boy. After assisting with the treatment we gathered pertinent medical information and helped calm down the distressed mother and concerned staff.

As soon as the ambulance evacuated the child, I could no longer ignore the throbbing sensation in my ankle, which had doubled in size since the last time I looked. My fellow volunteers dressed my ankle and called a United Hatzalah ambulance, which came within a few minutes of the call.

But my trip didn't end there.

As we were about to leave for the hospital another call came through of a multi-vehicle accident nearby. Reaching past the ambulance crew chief, I grabbed the radio and asked the dispatcher to send my team to the accident. Despite their objections, the dispatcher agreed and I waited at the day care center for the crew to return for me. After treating and stabilizing the three injured victims of the car crash, who were evacuated by other ambulances, the United Hatzalah crew returned to pick me up.

Now at the hospital I was treated by orthopedic specialist, Dr. Michael Herman a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer himself, who casted my ankle and diagnosed me with torn ligaments and tendons. After receiving orders to stay off my feet, I realized that the little boy we helped in the morning was recouping in the exact same hospital.

I wheeled myself to the pediatric emergency room on the sixth floor and met the boy whose name was Eliya G. and his grateful mother. Despite the maze of tubes and wires needed to monitor his recovery, Eliya was awake, alert and in good spirits.

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Seeing little Eliya alive and safe is the greatest relief that I have for my pain and gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. All 1,700 United Hatzalah volunteers act like soldiers each day, displacing personal pain and discomfort for the sake of our lifesaving mission. We are committed to saving lives, no matter what challenge we may face.