Yaron Efrat, center, flanked by EMT Ortal Cohen Yehezkel and Medevac Paramedic K
Yaron Efrat, center, flanked by EMT Ortal Cohen Yehezkel and Medevac Paramedic KMagen David Adom

A cycling group of fit, active men over 60 regularly bike Israel’s most rugged trails. They were cycling in the deep desert canyons of Mitzpe Ramon, when suddenly one cyclist went down. Had they not come prepared, things could have ended very differently.

“I’m literally alive today thanks to a hard lesson learned three years ago,” said Yaron Efrat, 70, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest literally in the middle of nowhere.

A member of the group immediately called Magen David Adom’s 101 hotline, and EMT Ortal Cohen Yehezkel instructed the group on how to perform CPR, while at the same time dispatching an MDA Medevac helicopter to the isolated location.

“I know how lucky I was this time,” said Efrat. “We paid in blood when three years ago on a similar trip we lost our friend, Shlomo Spitzer, of blessed memory, who collapsed and died in front of our eyes.”

At that time, Kobi Zeltzer, the MDA paramedic who arrived by Medevac helicopter, advised the group to carry a portable defibrillator with them on such vigorous and isolated trips. They took his advice.

When the same paramedic arrived by helicopter this time, Yaron was already fully conscious. “Three years ago, I made the recommendation to buy a defibrillator and they did it,” said Zeltzer. “There’s no doubt that’s what kept Yaron alive. This device saves lives.”

“Thanks to the resourcefulness of the guys, the medic on the MDA hotline, and the defibrillator which just guided us what to do, we saved Yaron’s life,” said a member of the group.

Magen David Adom is Israel’s national EMS and blood-services organization. Through its

affiliation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, MDA also

responds to disasters around the world. A leader in mass-casualty response and in EMS technology, Magen David Adom treats and transports nearly 1 million people to hospitals every

year, and collects, safety tests, and distributes nearly all the blood to Israel’s hospitals.