Muslim IDF soldier who suffered heart attack determined to resume service

Corporal Ahmad Sawaed suffered a cardiac arrest during training in the Negev but has since recovered, Ynet reports. 

By World Israel News Staff

A Muslim IDF soldier who suffered a heart attack during training in August has returned to the hospital that treated him to thank the staff for their dedication. He intends to return to service in the IDF.

Corporal Ahmad Sawaed was taking part in a fitness training exercise with his Bedouin unit at the Kzi’ot Military Base in the Negev when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed in August. He was immediately taken to Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Center, where he remained unconscious in the ICU for weeks.

On Tuesday, Sawaed returned to thank staff for the care he received. “I am happy and excited to meet the dedicated medical teams that took care of me when I was gravely ill,” he said, according to Ynet. “I want to thank you all for caring with the same dedication, for my family as well.”

Sawaed, who hails from the northern village of Shefa-‘Amr, was an accomplished cyclist before volunteering to serve in the IDF. His parents remained alongside him throughout his hospitalization, during which he turned 20. His father said that his recovery is nothing short of miraculous.

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“He is an athlete and eager to return to service,” his father Majed Sawaed said. “His commanders visit him often and he has told them as much. He is an optimist and still wants to serve his country.”

Soroka’s cardiac ICU chief Dr. Hezy Shmueli credited the dedication of Sawaed’s family and the hospital’s staff for the soldier’s recovery.

“When he was discharged, he began a course of neurological rehabilitation,” Shmueli said. “We are moved every time we see Ahmed, when he comes in for checkups, and are thrilled at his recovery. His case highlights the importance of a quick response to cardiac arrests, including the use of defibrillators.”