Yitzchak Marmorshtein is married with four children and works at the Osher Ad supermarket in Beit Shemesh. Last week, he experienced something that few people ever have the joy of experiencing – meeting the person whose life they saved.
Marmorshtein recounted the story of the emotional reunion of EMT and patient. “While I was stocking shelves in the supermarket with a full wagon and customers blocking me from getting to my destination, one customer stopped me to ask a question. ‘Excuse me, but do you volunteer as an EMT with United Hatzalah?’
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Not thinking too much of it, I replied in the affirmative and was about to continue heading towards my section, when the man asked another question.
‘Have you ever responded to a car accident on highway 44 between the Shimshon and Nachshon Junctions? The accident in question would have been about a year ago.’
I tried to recall all of the emergencies that I have responded to in the area. It took me a few moments but then I remembered that there was a crash that I responded to at that location just about a year ago. I told him that from what I remember that the crash took place on a cold and rainy winter day when a car traveling at high speeds slid off the road and crashed into the gutter on the side of the highway. The driver was in serious condition and was semi-conscious. I arrived and treated the driver and was taking his vital signs when an intensive care unit arrived and transported the driver to the hospital. That was the story from my vantage point.
As I finish telling the story, including the medical treatment that I gave the driver, the customer said: ‘You have no idea how long I have been looking for you.’ Stunned I asked him why he was looking for me at all.
He floored me when he told me that he was the driver whom I had treated over a year ago. “From the ambulance to the hospital staff, I have already thanked everyone who came to treat me and help me that day. I managed to find them all and say thank you. The only one left was the mysterious EMT from United Hatzalah. Every time I meet a medic from United Hatzalah I ask them if they treated the driver of that accident. Today I can finally thank you for what you did for me that day. On behalf of myself, my wife and my family, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.’ He gave me a big hug and then he went on his way.
To me, this is what United Hatzalah is all about. It is an organization that helps people and works to provide free medical service in the first few moments after a crisis happens. Those are the most important minutes in treating people, and they often mean the most to the patients and their families.”
Marmorshtein began working as a volunteer EMT almost five years ago after a personal tragedy struck his family. “My mother died a number of years ago, and when she was sick, she reached the point where the hospital kept sending her home and telling us to only come in when something out-of-the-ordinary happened. So every time that she had a seizure or needed special care, we called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Even though we don’t live far from an ambulance station, it usually took about 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Every single time that we called, a volunteer from United Hatzalah arrived within the first two or three minutes and helped treat our mother, while also providing us with a reassuring presence.”
For Marmorshtein, those first few minutes left an impression that never went away. “I didn’t know all the medical procedures or treatments. I just knew that someone was here who could help. Just seeing a qualified medic arrive in the first few moments when we needed help was a huge thing for me and my family. It gave us a sense of security, knowing that everything would be alright. After my mother passed away, I told my wife that I want to take this experience and learn from it. I wanted to be that person who arrives to help people in the first few moments when they need someone and they are in a state of crisis.”
Now, Marmorshtein uses the lessons he learned then and pays them forward to save others. “There are people who become EMTs to become part of the action of being an EMS responder, but for me, it is about paying forward the help that my family received and the lessons that I learned.”