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MDA Stories

Going above and beyond for a Holocaust survivor

cleaningWhen Paramedic Roman Balman was called to assist an elderly woman who collapsed on the street, he thought it would be a routine call. But when the first response team brought the victim back to her apartment after treating her, they discovered an uninhabitable mess — and documents that showed she was a Holocaust survivor who fought against the Nazis. Realizing that this woman needed more than first aid, Roman got permission from his director to stay with her and clean her apartment. After a few hours they made a lot of progress and they came back the next day, which happened to be Holocaust Remembrance Day,  to finish the job. Working with local agencies, Roman and his team got in touch with the woman’s brother and initiated arrangements for a full-time aid. Most of the time, a paramedic’s job ends when the patient is dropped at home or the hospital, but when they need to go the extra mile, MDA paramedics don’t hesitate.

Special Delivery…Over the Phone

twinsAn Israeli woman expecting twins, Meital Shiri, was home alone when she suddenly went into labor despite being only 34 weeks pregnant. Panicked and unable to get to the hospital, she gave birth to the first child alone. At that point, she called MDA. Maya Aloni, the MDA paramedic and dispatcher who took her call, told Shiri how to handle the newborn and guided her through the initial phases of delivering the second child, while rushing an ambulance with MDA paramedics to Shiri’s home. Meital gave birth to two healthy babies, thanks to her own resourcefulness and the support and expertise of Magen David Adom.

“At MDA, they teach us to function coolly and professionally,” Aloni said. “My role was to keep the mother calm, reassure her, and be supportive until the ambulance arrived.”

From Tragedy to Action

Shira Applebaum is an MDA paramedic and leader of their national disaster response team. She is also a symbol of the hope and inspiration that MDA’s lifesaving work provides, even in the face of tragedy. Shira’s father and sister were killed by a suicide bomber the night before her sister’s wedding. When Shira arrived at the scene not knowing how to help, she decided to dedicate the rest of her life to saving lives. Now a nurse in a private clinic and an MDA paramedic, Shira honors the memory of her father and sister each day with her heroic work. Learn more about Shira’s story.

A Hometown Hero

When bombs started falling on Haifa during the 2006 Lebanon War, Paramedic Supervisor Erez Geller rushed to the Israel Railways Yard, a main target, and ordered ambulances to join him. “It felt like our city was being destroyed and all we could do was concentrate on saving our patients,” Erez, a Haifa native, recalled. Rockets continued to fall as Erez directed MDA teams to treat the wounded and evacuate them to hospitals. “This day, at the start of the Second Lebanon War in which eight people died and many dozens were wounded, will stay forever in my mind,” he said.

A Desert Rescue

During a trip to Israel, David Whiteman was enjoying a camel ride when he felt severe chest pains. The beautiful but isolated desert scenery was now a threat to David’s life, but the tour guide quickly drove him to the nearest MDA station in Arad. They were still about 45 minutes from the hospital, but MDA paramedics kept David breathing until they arrived at the hospital, where the blocked artery was cleared. David’s wife, Sheri, noticed that the ambulance that saved her husband’s life was donated by family friends. The Whitemans were inspired to donate their own ambulance, and today it’s saving lives on the streets of Afula.

Welcoming New Life — Twice

Sapir Nino was in an ambulance on the way to Kaplan Hospital, where she wanted to give birth, when it became clear that her twin girls weren’t going to wait. Sapir was transferred to a Mobile Intensive Care Unit and MDA Paramedic Ravit Keren supervised the delivery. The first twin was born in the ambulance. Ten kilometers and 10 minutes later, the second was born at the entrance to the hospital. After an eventful birth, the mother, babies, and even the paramedic were happy to rest for a moment and smile for a photo.