Arab Muslim, Jewish paramedics work together to save life in northern Israel
The two United Hatzalah EMT’s were able to revive a 28-year-old patient after administering CPR together
By ILANIT CHERNICK
Coexistence in Israel is a reality and a touching story of how a Muslim Arab EMT and a Jewish EMT worked together to save a life in Afula on Monday highlights this
According to Israel’s United Hatzalaha, a 28-year-old man collapsed for unknown reasons in his home in the city’s Yerushalayim Street.
Responding to the emergency call by the young man’s mother, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Keren Ezouz, who is Jewish, and Imad Zoabi, who is Arab, received the alert and responded to the situation.
Ezouz, who is from Kibbutz Heftziba was shopping nearby when she received the alert.
While doing some errands in the “big” city, she received the emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center and “raced over to the building, and ran up the stairs into the family’s apartment.
She was the first responder in the room and saw that the man’s neighbor was already doing CPR.
“I took over doing compressions and a few moments later I was joined by a mobile intensive care ambulance team,” Ezouz said. “They were understaffed so I asked the dispatcher to send more volunteers.”
It was then that Zoabi, who is not only a United Hatzalah paramedic but who also drives a private ambulance for HaShfela Ambulance service, got the call for back up and arrived at the scene.
“I was near the hospital when I received the notice from the dispatch that Ezouz was in need of assistance,” Zoabi said.
When he walked in he saw that CPR was being administered and was approached by Ezouz, who has been a friend of his for many years. The two, he said, have responded to many medical emergencies together.
“[She] asked me to help and see if the man’s pulse had returned,” he said. “Together, we were able to determine that a very weak pulse did indeed return and we stopped CPR while continuing to administer assisted ventilation until the patient stabilized.”
“It was a terrific team effort,” Zoabi added.
Following the call, the two explained that they have gotten to know each other through their volunteering at United Hatzalah.
Ezouz, a married mother of one, is originally from Ra’anana and didn’t grow up knowing any Muslims.
“I’ve met many terrific people through my volunteering, including Zoabi and Adi Kanias, the local chapter head of United Hatzalah in Afula who also arrived to assist in the CPR.”
Zoabi, a Muslim EMT and ambulance driver from the town of Tamra-Yizrael, is married with three children and has been involved in emergency medical services for the past 15 years.
“I have gotten to know and become friends with a lot of people and we all share the same goals, the same ethos, to help anyone around us in need of medical assistance,” he said. “These goals bring us together and we become friends through these shared ideals.”
According to Zoabi, this is not the first time that they have responded to a medical emergency together.
“Whenever I perform a successful CPR it always gives me a great feeling like the heavens are the limits,” he said. “I’ve thankfully done a lot CPRs. This is a terrific field to be in, and the people in it, people like Keren and Adi are wonderful.”
Speaking about the patient’s condition after treating him, Ezouz made it clear that the man “is really young and there is no reason that he shouldn’t die at a ripe old age.”
“Thankfully, Imad, Adi, and I together with the ambulance crew worked together hand-in-hand and we were able to bring him back,” she said, adding that “it was a relief to all of us that he survived.”
Zoabi and Ezouz said that they hope the 28-year-old patient makes a full recovery.
“Thanks to the work of the entire team this man has a fighting chance,” they concluded.
*Featured Image: United Hatzalah paramedics Imad Zoabi, Keren Ezouz and Adi Kanias working together to save lives. (Photo Credit: United Hatzalah)