On the first night of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), a woman’s life was saved after she had an anaphylactic reaction to honey and pomegranates. The incident took place in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, as families were sitting down to eat the festive meal of the new year. During the meal, it is customary to eat numerous special foods, among them, honey and pomegranates.
The woman, in her mid-40s, suffered a severe allergic reaction that developed into anaphylaxis as a result of eating these special holiday foods. The family quickly called for emergency services to come and help save the woman’s life.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs who live nearby, including Pnina Hadas and Shimon Arama, left their own meals and rushed over to the given address. They found the woman outside next to a car, presumably trying to get to the hospital. The woman was in severe respiratory distress and was barely able to tell the EMTs that she was having difficulty breathing.
Pnina and Shimon administered an auto-injection epinephrine device (EpiPen) and then continued oxygen therapy.
“It was incredible. The woman went from not being able to breathe one minute to a few seconds later being able to take in a breath, all because of the epinephrine,” Pnina said. “To save a life right at the beginning of the new year is something that is simply incredible. This is the day that we are judged for life, and I was able to help this woman and be a part of her returning to her family and loved ones. There is no greater feeling than that.”
Pnina and Shimon arrived within three minutes of the time when she received the emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. Within a few minutes after their arrival, the woman was in stable condition and waiting for an ambulance to take her to the hospital for further care.