On Friday afternoon, a man in his 50s was swimming at the municipal pool in Kiryat Ono when he suddenly stopped swimming and drowned. The lifeguard on duty saw the man floating on the top of the water unmoving. He quickly jumped in and pulled the man to the side of the pool and out of the water. He called for help and initiated CPR.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Shlomo Appel was on his ambucycle returning from another medical emergency involving a man suffering chest pain just a few streets away from the pool when he received the alert. Shlomo flicked on his lights and sirens and raced to the pool. He grabbed his medical equipment and ran inside.
Shlomo found that the man had been hooked up to a defibrillator and received not one, but two shocks. After making sure the scene was safe, Shlomo took over performing chest compressions and continued CPR alternating with another EMT who had arrived in performing compressions and assisted ventilation.
Other first responders from United Hatzalah arrived including EMTs Yuda Widawsky, and Moseh Frum, as well as paramedic Yaron Shiff. The team worked in unison and after 10 minutes the man’s pulse returned and he began to once again breathe on his own.
“Before I was able to intubate him, the man began to breathe on his own somewhat,” Shiff explained. “We connected him to a monitor and found that his breathing wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be so when the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived, we sedated him and intubated him. The teamwork shown by all first responders working together at the scene was incredible and helped our efforts in saving this man’s life. I hope that he continues on his path to making a full recovery.”
After the incident was over Shlomo reflected on the poolside drama. “It felt incredible to bring this man back from drowning. Unfortunately, there have been so many cases of drowning this summer and it is really quite tragic. I am happy to have been able to be there to help the man together with the other volunteers who responded.”
President and Founder of United Hatzalah spoke about the incident and added, “This summer has been a particularly bad one when it comes to incidents of drowning. There have been too many emergencies involving drowning incidents both at beaches, as well as at private and public pools. I encourage everyone to be extra vigilant when spending time around water. Put cellphones away around water and keep an eye out for both your own safety and the safety of others in the vicinity. You never know when you will be called on to save a life.”