In Israel, heroes are made both by their feats and by their hearts.
Every day some 15,000 volunteer first responders and 2,000 professional paramedics and EMTs watch over the lives of nearly 9 million people. Each of them knows that at any moment, day or night, they could be called to summon all of their courage and strength to drive into life threatening situations to help those in need.
Many among them deserve to be called heroes, but only the names of a small few will ever be known on this side of heaven.
Yair Schussheim is a MAGEN DAVID ADOM paramedic who has served with all of his strength and all of his heart for years. He has never asked that his story be told, which is all the more reason to tell it.
God has worked through Yair’s hands many times to save lives, to bring comfort, and to be a beacon of hope. He has been mightily used and his humility is amazing.
One of these instances included a man who went into ventricular fibrillation, his heart quivering rather than pumping any blood. Despite the man having no respiration or productive heart beats, Yair performed CPR on the man for more than an hour and 15 minutes, administering continuous chest compressions, defibrillator shocks, a cc of adrenaline every three to five minutes, and Amiodarone, an antiarrhythmic medication.
Yair performed these procedures literally from the time they encountered the man on the street in front of the man’s house to the time they hurriedly wheeled him into the trauma center at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, continuing these lifesaving measures the whole time in transit.
“I felt the man had a lot of fight left in him,” Yair said. “As long as he wasn’t giving up, neither was I.”
The man survived with no ill effects, not even broken ribs from the ceaseless cardiac compressions Yair performed. The doctors at the hospital called it a miracle.
Yair also saved the life of an Israeli soldier who was hit by a car driving at full speed in a terrorist attack. Despite the soldier’s catastrophic injuries and Yair’s own doubts that the patient would ultimately survive, he never ceased performing lifesaving measures and managed to keep the soldier breathing and to maintain his blood pressure during the harrowing 40-minute trip to the nearest Israeli hospital.
The soldier not only survived, but Yair visited him repeatedly in the hospital, urging him to fight the post-traumatic depression of seeing his once healthy body so broken, and encouraged him through his months of grueling rehabilitation to full recovery.
To this day — Yair’s eyes sometime well up recounting the story. “It touches my heart,” he says. “His survival and recovery is a miracle.” And he and the soldier still keep in touch.
Paramedics devote themselves to saving lives, but many in Israel see this work as their calling. This is not just a job, they do it with all of their hearts. And it’s that dedication that’s enabled Yair to save so many lives.
When you support MAGEN DAVID ADOM, you are supporting many brave men and women with the same heart as Yair, the same integrity, and the same compassion. We are so thankful for them, and they are thankful for you.