Heart attack victim receiving emergency treatment
Heart attack victim receiving emergency treatment iStock

A 60-year-old man narrowly escaped with his life earlier this week when without any warning, he suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness.

The man had been sitting on a chair in a subterranean parking garage in Tel Aviv when he suddenly lost consciousness and keeled over. To the horror of those who, fortunately, happened to be in the parking lot at the time, the man was completely unresponsive. Emergency services were summoned.

Max Hockley, a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah, was meeting up with a friend when he received the emergency alert. Max and his friend were sitting on the steps outside a local library and were saying their goodbyes when Max’s phone went off, alerting him to the emergency occurring nearby. “Luckily, I had my electric bicycle from the organization with my medical kit with me. I always try to bring it on any errands I go on in case I get called to help someone. I see this as my mission, and I don't ever want to miss out on an opportunity to help someone,” he related.

Max flicked on the lights and sirens, strapped on his helmet, and headed to the location pinned on his navigation system. “As I was driving, I saw an ambulance coming fast down the street behind me,” he recalled. “Ambulances rushing to emergencies drive fast, but this one was going extremely fast. Until then, I had assumed that the emergency I was heading to wasn't life-threatening because it was a generic call of the kind that I receive fairly often - but when I saw this ambulance, I got nervous and realized that this emergency might just be one of those where minutes make the difference between life and death.”

Max accelerated to catch up with the ambulance that was now ahead of him and saw someone waving them down at the entrance to a subterranean garage. The EMT followed and drove deeper and deeper into the garage to where the unconscious person lay.

As Max approached, he saw a police officer on the ground, bent over the patient and already performing CPR. Max dismounted from his bike and headed toward them. The man had no pulse and was not breathing. Max waited for instructions from the paramedic heading the ambulance team who was getting the equipment ready, and was told to get his bag valve mask and oxygen tank. He then took a pair of shears and removed the patient's clothes as they were interfering with CPR. Max switched out the EMT performing chest compressions and the team gathered around to assist with the resuscitation efforts. The team worked together for over 30 minutes.

Thankfully, the team succeeded in restoring the man’s pulse. They continued to stabilize him and by the time the patient was transferred into the ambulance for transport to hospital, the team of first responders detected a strong and steady pulse in the man. After the intense but successful resuscitation, the medical team, including Max, was ecstatic.

“It's an amazing feeling to help save a life,” Max said. “I want to add that every single aspect of a CPR effort is vital. For example, today, while the team was inserting IVs, I ran over to the medic's bag, pulled out the needle disposal container, and brought it over so that it would be ready when it was needed. This may seem really mundane and not a big deal, but it's something that I learned from previous instances where I was performing CPR that often gets overlooked. The team shouldn't have to waste precious time and go scrambling to look for it. I learned from past experience and we avoided wasting precious seconds needed to treat the patient. Sometimes the smallest acts make a big difference.”