Child drowning in swimming pool
Child drowning in swimming pooliStock

Last Thursday, a two-year-old boy left his family’s sukkah in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem just after lunch and made his way to a nearby pond where he slipped and fell into the water. The missing boy was underwater for sometime before he was located by his worried parents who immediately called emergency services. United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Meir Framowitz and Yishai Blau were the closest responders to the incident and arrived in less than two minutes from the time the call went out.

When they arrived they were handed a young boy who had turned completely blue, and who was not breathing and had no pulse. They immediately began performing CPR on the young boy, named Elchanan, while his family and onlookers prayed for the boy’s recovery. A few minutes later they were joined by other first responders and an ambulance team who took Elchanan to the hospital where doctors continued attempts to resuscitate him.

Dr. Adam Ballin, a volunteer with United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit arrived at the scene in an effort to comfort Elchanan’s parents. Dr. Ballin accompanied the distraught mother to the hospital after the father had gone with the ambulance. He spent five hours with the family in the hospital until the holiday had ended and Elchanan’s condition had stabilized somewhat. “The doctors who were treating him in the hospital said later that evening that he was in serious but stable condition,” explained Ballin. “We were praying that Elchanan recover and that there would not be any brain damage.”

Their prayers were answered. Elchanan was released from the hospital Monday morning, and due to the quick intervention by the first responders, he made a full recovery. “I didn’t want to tell the parents at the time, but their boy was clinically dead when the team arrived, and he was brought back from the brink,” said Dr. Ballin. “The chances of this kind of CPR succeeding on a young boy in this situation are infinitesimal.”

Elchanan and his parents Yehoshua and Rivkah were invited by United Hatzalah to tell their story in front of the gathered crowd at the annual sukkot concert on Monday evening. Elchanan who had just been released from hospital earlier that day, ran, jumped and played on stage as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. The family thanked the first responders who saved their child’s life on stage in a heartfelt speech that left the audience in tears.

Framowitz said that: “Seeing Elchanan laugh, play and roll around on stage as if nothing had happened five days prior was simply miraculous. This organization gave us the tools, the technology and the training needed to create a miracle, and that miracle is now smiling and laughing with us on stage here at this concert.”

Dr. Ballin added that: “We succeeded together in saving Elchanan’s life and giving this family something to celebrate rather than mourn. Being on stage with him tonight was simply out of this world. On Sukkot afternoon that child was basically dead and now he is up and around and jumping on stage and has a bright future in front of him. It was simply unbelievable.”

At the concert both Rivkah and Yehoshua thanked United Hatzalah and the first responders for their quick life-saving intervention.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing my baby back,” said Rivkah with tears in her eyes before passing the microphone to Yehoshua.

“We are so happy to be here with good news as this situation could have gone very differently,” Yehoshua said. “There are different ways that God does miracles but he prefers to do them in the natural way. Even though these responders seem like they are God’s natural way it is hard for me to imagine that I can touch this guy and that he is.not an angel and that I would burn my hand. These people are God’s messengers. The doctors at the hospital didn’t recognize the miracle. There was water in my son’s lungs. My only son. There is no water there anymore.

"This is truly a miracle. God used these guys as his arms and we will thank them forever and ever. We will always thank them.”