Jewish, Muslim EMTs save life of Arab woman near Jerusalem

The team described what they had just witnessed as a miracle.


A 50-year-old woman collapsed on Monday in her front yard in the town of Ein Naqquba, an Arab village west of Jerusalem. Her children found her lying unresponsive on the ground a few minutes later and immediately called emergency services for help.

Samr Salama is a Muslim volunteer EMT for United Hatzalah and was the first responder who arrived at the scene of the incident. He was in his home a few streets away from the woman’s house and sped over on his ambucycle as soon as he got the notification of the emergency.

Upon his arrival, Samr connected his defibrillator to the pulseless woman and began to perform chest compressions. The family members were crowding around, worried and upset about what had happened to their mother.

Other United Hatzalah volunteers arrived after a few minutes, including Dovi Bash, a volunteer EMT from the nearby town of Kiryat Ye’arim. He was in the synagogue at the time of the incident and rode over on his ambucycle to help with the resuscitation.

The volunteer EMTs had been performing compressions and ventilating with a BVM (bag valve mask) for around 10 minutes and the defibrillator still had not detected a heart rhythm to administer a shock. As the time continued to pass some of the team members’ hopes for a successful resuscitation started to dwindle.

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An intense care ambulance arrived and the paramedic administered medications and fluids to the patient via an IV. The paramedic attached a heart monitor which showed that the patient’s pulse returned to a steady rhythm of 140 bpm.

The team was relieved and excited that they had just witnessed a miracle.

The woman was transferred to a hospital for further care and recovery.

“I would like to point out the incredible teamwork that took place between all of the EMS personnel at the scene,” Dovi said. “In general, I am always pleased that the United Hatzalah volunteers, and the patients that we treat, come from all different races and religions and that we work together as a team with no discrimination. It always feels good to go home for the night after saving a life.”