A Running Marathon Miracle


Exactly one year ago, Shachar David (46) from Dimona was running in the Dead Sea Marathon, when his heart stopped beating, and he collapsed mid-race.

One of the participants in the marathon who happened to run next to him, was Meir Furmanski from Jerusalem, who volunteers as an EMT at Magen David Adom. He immediately began performing CPR, and saved David’s life.

Shachar David and Meir Furmanski

After intense rehabilitation, they had a heart-warming experience, when they ran the same marathon last Friday, this time side by side.

“Running the same run, in the same place, with the person who saved my life, was truly a remedial experience,” said Shachar David.

“If someone would have told me a year ago what I was about to encounter, I would not have believed it, but after the fact, it was clear to me that I had to get back to my myself, and I am proud to say that I was able to do that. “

Shachar David and Meir Furmanski

Meir Furmanski added: “It was a bit strange when we met at the starting point, but also very exciting to stand there together.’

“It’s amazing to see this miracle right in front of my eyes, and to know that I have taken a part in it. I have been running regularly for many years, but there is no other run, that both prior to, and during, I was so excited for.”

Mum Thanks Ambulance Service After Birth On M5: Father Delivers Baby


Joshua Mogg Delivers Son Harry On M5 Whilst On Phone To SWASFT Call Handler

A mum who gave birth on a motorway has been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) staff who helped her.

Jayne Rowland, 36, was on her way to hospital when she went into the final stages of labour in roadworks on the M5 in Somerset.

Her partner Joshua Mogg, 29, called 999 minutes before baby Harry was born in their car on the southbound carriageway near junction 24.

Paramedics and police arrived to find the family stopped on the inside lane of the motorway because there was no hard shoulder.

“Delivering my baby son on a motorway is probably the best thing I’ve done in my life. I feel it’s given me a stronger bond with Harry.”

Jayne, Joshua and Harry made a special visit from their home in Street to Taunton Ambulance Station on Thursday 13 February to thank the responders in person.  

Jayne said: “I’d had discomfort for around three weeks, and didn’t feel anything different when I woke up that day. But the pain got worse and worse in the car, so I asked Josh to pull over.

“Everything seemed to happen very quickly. The call handler talked it through with us, and then the paramedics and police arrived. They all made such a difference. We’re so thankful.” 

The incident happened on 1 November when Jayne and Josh were travelling to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton for her to be induced at 9.30am.

Jayne, Harry, Joshua and Benjamin at Taunton Ambulance Station with the SWASFT staff who responded to Joshua’s call

But Harry was born in the front passenger seat of the car at 7.57am, just 30 minutes after they left home.

He weighed 7lb 8oz at birth, and is brother to eight-year-old Benjamin. Harry’s birth certificate has his place of birth recorded as ‘M5’.

Jayne, who works as a teaching assistant, said: “I just wanted to get to the hospital safely and on time. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised how much danger we were in, because there was nowhere safe to stop in the roadworks.” 

Jayne praised a lorry driver who shielded them from traffic by stopping and putting his hazard warning lights on.

She also expressed thanks to the Avon and Somerset Police officers who returned their car and personal possessions from the scene to them.

Joshua, who works as a tree surgeon, said: “Jayne was my priority. So I was first trying to get her to hospital as quickly and safely as possible. Then I just had to get out of the car and get on with it.

“Delivering my baby son on a motorway is probably the best thing I’ve done in my life. I feel it’s given me a stronger bond with Harry.”

Call handler Jonathan Leaton talked Josh and Jayne through the unusual delivery.

Jonathan said: “They both did incredibly well throughout the entire call. They remained calm and followed every instruction which ensured the best possible outcome.”

Operations Officer Dan Wilsher was first on scene, before he was joined by Paramedic Simon White and Student Paramedic Alexandra Luxton.

Dan said: “It was a rather unusual incident to attend. I remember being very aware of the safety aspect, as Josh and Jayne’s car was in a live traffic lane. When I approached the passenger door, I saw a tiny little face wrapped in blankets looking back at me.’

“We made sure baby Harry was warm and well and that Jayne was comfortable before taking them both to the maternity unit at Musgrove. It’s certainly an incident I won’t forget!”

EMT Couple: Rescuing Lives Together Brings Us Together


Tom and Nechama Eisenman live together with their three children in Beit Shemesh and are often busy as ever racing to people’s aid either by ambucycle or with their own private vehicle as volunteers for United Hatzalah.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Tom was busy with Shabbat preparations when he was alerted to a child who had been struck by a car.

The dedicated volunteer dashed outside, hopped on his ambucycle and sped to the nearby address, arriving within just 60 seconds!

As Tom immediately began providing critical lifesaving intervention to the seriously injured 6-year-old boy, another United Hatzalah ambucycle medic arrived and assisted Tom in bandaging the boy’s wounds, affixing a neck brace for C-spine stabilization and immobilizing him.

Tom and Nechama after responding to what turned out be Nechama’s first call after graduating as an EMT the night before

About 5 minutes later, an ambulance crew arrived and joined in the rescue effort.

Tom administered Oxygen as the team worked feverishly to stabilize the boy’s condition before rapidly transporting him to the nearest trauma center.

In another incident, the following Sunday morning, a public bus suddenly jerked to a stop, sending a passenger flying forward. The woman screamed as she crashed down to the bus floor, suffering multiple injuries.

Alarmed co-passengers immediately called for help and United Hatzalah dispatch alerted its closest volunteers. Tom leaped upon his ambucycle once again and raced to the accident scene in record time.

Tom arrives on-scene to Nechama’s first emergency call

As he pulled up to the bus, he was surprised to see a very familiar face; his wife in her orange United Hatzalah vest.

Nechama had just celebrated her EMT course graduation the night before and this was her very first call. 

The husband-and-wife life-saving duo boarded the bus together and approached the injured victim.

The 45-year-old woman had suffered bruising from the fall and complained of hitting her head and of feeling weak and dizzy.

Nechama and Tom reassured the woman as they checked her vitals and treated her wounds. Having stayed with the woman until the arrival of an ambulance, the pair of medics parted ways until they would meet back home later that evening.

Since then they have been responding to calls together almost daily. 

Speaking about responding to calls with his significant other, Tom said: “Responding together as a couple is awesome. Doing something that I enjoy so much, assisting people and saving lives, is so much better when I can do it with the person that I love so much’

“For years I’ve been responding to calls on my own and now that Nechama has joined it becomes so much more meaningful to share these experiences with her.’

Tom and Nechama: two halves of the perfect team

“We speak the same language and when we respond it gives our time together a lot of meaning knowing that we at any moment we can, and often are, pulled away to respond to emergencies.”

Nechama further added: “What I love about volunteering with my spouse, is that it is really cool to see a whole new dimension of my husband’s personality, and for him to see a new part of mine.’

“Even though we’ve been married for nine years, volunteering together allowed us to see new parts of each other.

“It is also a combination of two of my favorite things.’

“I love being able to help people and being equipped to handle a situation that a few months ago I had no idea how to handle. I also love spending time with my husband and this way we can do both.’

“Just like in our marriage, we balance each other out and we can now bring that to the table in the EMT arena.’

“We each have different ways of how we interact with the patients and we compliment each other. It becomes a very holistic type of approach. He has his calmness and I have my empathy. We make a great tag team.”  

Mobile mental health unit expands London-wide to help improve care for patients


A pioneering scheme that pairs up mental health professionals with medics in response cars to ensure those with mental health needs get the right treatment is helping ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

For 12 weeks, five cars staffed by mental health nurses from NHS trusts around the capital and paramedics from London Ambulance Service will treat the physical and mental health needs of patients together.

The emphasis will be on linking mental health patients with the most appropriate treatment, including referrals to specialist care, and only taking them to A&E where this is necessary such as when accompanied by a physical condition.

The fleet is an expansion of a mental health car service launched in south-east London in November 2018 and will help alleviate pressure traditionally faced by the NHS in the final winter months.

The original service is estimated to have helped around 2,000 people suffering with mental health issues in the past year, with initial findings suggesting that the scheme could halve the 60,000 annual mental health hospital admissions each year.

The South East London pilot saw the proportion of patients taken to A&E more than halved from around 52 per cent to 18 per cent as more patients were treated effectively in their own homes or received other appropriate care.

Dr Trisha Bain, chief quality officer at London Ambulance Service, who has responsibility for mental health services, said:

“A&E is not always the right place for someone experiencing a mental health crisis, and can even be stressful or traumatising.

“This pioneering service is helping to ensure we provide the right and best possible care for people with mental health issues and is one of a number of ways we are safely reducing the number of people taken to hospital unnecessarily.

“Winter is traditionally a busy time for the National Health Service and this boost to our successful service will help us further refine how we deliver these services in London.”

Martin Machray, Interim Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, said:

“Patients experiencing health crises often need the support and knowledge of a mental health professional as well as a paramedic.

“By treating both their physical and mental health needs, we can provide a better and more rounded care approach – and I am proud that London is leading the way with this wonderful project.”

The roll out is a significant boost to current staffing with 15 new nurses from nine mental health trusts in London and 15 London Ambulance Service paramedics delivering the service until the end of April.

Matthew Trainer, Chief Executive at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust which is one of the mental health trusts providing nurses for the project, said:

“There aren’t many cases where someone with a mental health problem will benefit from being taken to a busy A&E by ambulance. We want to get the right care to people in the right place as quickly as we can. The mental health cars are helping us do that.”

It has been made possible by winter resilience funding of £350,000 from NHS London to secure the additional nurses while London Ambulance Service has provided the vehicles and additional paramedics.The lessons of this winter’s temporary pan-London roll-out will be used to inform and plan the future of this Service.

Senior Health Officials From Costa Rica Visit Magen David Adom


The President of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Dr. Román Macaya Hayes, the Israeli Ambassador to Costa Rica, H.E Amir Ofek, Costa Rica’s Honorary Consul in Israel, Mr. Natan Aluf and other senior health officials from costa Rica visited Magen David Adom on Sunday February 9th to meet with MDA’s own senior officials.

As part of the visit, they toured MDA’s National Operations Center in Kiryat Ono, and received an overview of the organization’s work during routine and emergency operations.

The officials were impressed with the advanced technology used by Magen David Adom, the ability of volunteers to operate and the community involvement in the rescue activities.

As part of their visit the guests had te opportunity to closely observe the  organization’s response vehicles, including an ambulance and a Mobile Intensive Care Unit.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in knowledge and experience exchange between senior medical officials from around the world, who are impressed by the capabilities of Magen David Adom and MDA senior representatives who participate in various international forums and visit other services.

President of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Dr. Román Macaya Hayes stated: “We were very impressed by what we saw today at Magen David Adom, the technology and the organization’s impressive ability to treat as quickly and professionally as possible any patient or injured person.’

“We were also impressed by the involvement of volunteers first responders, who initiate life-saving medical care even before the arrival of the ambulance. We hope to continue the cooperation with Magen David Adom and even strengthen it, in order to save lives. “

MDA Director General, Eli Bin, further commented: “The medical and technological capabilities that we constantly develop in MDA for the sake of saving lives in the State of Israel are among the most advanced in the world.’

“Every time senior medical officials in the world come to Israel, share information with us, in order to improve the ability of both parties to provide life saving care to the seriously sick injured quickly and professionally, this is very exciting and gratifying.’

“We were honored to have hosted a delegation of senior health officials from Costa Rica at Magen David Adom, Israel’s national rescue organization, and I thank them for their visit. “

Comic Strips To Combat The Bullies


February is LGBT History Month and the Welsh Ambulance Service has enlisted the help of a talented comic book artist to help in the celebration.

David Llewelyn, founder of Red Dyfi Dragon Comics, has created a series of characters and comic strips which sensitively address issues such as bullying, hate crime and assault on ambulance staff.

Learning Disability Community Champion and artist David Llewelyn with his 2019 Mirror Award won for his comic.

Rainbow Shooting Star is one such comic strip which broaches the subject of discrimination against people in the LGBTQ+ community, and will be promoted via the Trust’s LGBT network during February.

Speaking of his voluntary work, David said: “I am very proud to be with the ambulance service.

“I’ve always wanted to help vulnerable adults and children to be safe and to encourage them to believe in themselves.

“Everybody is entitled to live like everybody else.”

David attends Cyfle Newydd Day Centre in Machynlleth and volunteers as a Learning Disability Community Champion for the Trust’s Patient Engagement and Community Involvement Team, whose work involves meeting community groups with protected characteristics and spreading key health and service messages in a way that is engaging and understandable.

David’s comics even won the 2019 Mirror Award (Idea Category), hosted by All Wales People First, a peer-led advocacy service for people with Learning Disabilities.

“I have always wanted to do things with comic book writing,” he said.

“What inspired me to do my comics was that I have a DVD called Charley Says and it has all the old safety adverts from the 60s and the 70s.

The Rainbow Shooting Star (Part 1) by David Llewelyn, Learning Disability Community Champion and Artist

“It gave me an idea to use my character the Red Dyfi Dragon to introduce safety messages.”

Through research, the Patient Engagement and Community Involvement Team have also formulated a series of flash cards and a pictoral quiz to help champions spread the ‘Choose Well’ message in healthcare. 

Key messages like when to call 999 and when not to, when to use the 111 service and when to visit your GP or pharmacist are covered.

The Rainbow Shooting Star (Part 2) by David Llewelyn, Learning Disability Community Champion and Artist

The team are also working with a number of groups to develop training materials to enable staff to respond and engage people better during emergencies.

The team will host an event in Lampeter in June, the first to cater for people with moderate to severe learning disabilities. 

For more information on the team’s learning disability engagement work, email PECI.team@wales.nhs.uk

Visit David’s Red Dyfi Dragon Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3bege2l

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal Visits Redhill Aerodrome Marking 30 Years of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex


Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Redhill Aerodrome on Tuesday (4th February 2020) to meet the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS) team and view the new technology and training facilities that will allow the AW169 aircraft to operate in weather conditions where it is currently not possible and the crew to deliver more inflight patient care.

Her Royal Highness’ visit coincides with the 30th Anniversary of AAKSS.  Founded in 1989, AAKSS serves 4.8 million residents across South East England and is a world leader in the provision of helicopter emergency medical services. 

It is the only air ambulance service in the UK to fly 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  Since its inception it has treated more than 30,000 patients.

 Left to Right: Dr Helen Bowcock OBE, DL, Chair of Trustees Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex,  David Welch Chief Exec AAKSS introducing HRH The Princess Royal to Leigh Curtis, Executive Director of Service Delivery AAKSS and Professor Richard Lyon MBE.  Far right: paramedics and pilots of AAKSS.

AAKSS is renowned for leading in the research and innovation of pre-hospital emergency care.  From the introduction of new medical techniques, design of the medical interior helicopter cabin to the introduction of a new operational model the team continuously strives to improve patient outcomes.

David Welch, Chief Executive of AAKSS said “We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness for visiting us today and helping to put the spotlight on our Air Ambulance service.’

“We have a fantastic, highly skilled team who are always looking for new ways to provide even better service and care and over the last 30 years the team here has helped pioneer some very significant advancements in operations and emergency medicine which has provided significant benefits for the patients. ‘

“The very nature of our service means we respond to seriously injured or ill patients who require high levels of specialist care. ‘

“Often these patients are a considerable distance from a major trauma centre so it is hugely important that when our medical crew arrive at the scene they are equipped to provide the best possible pre-hospital emergency care they can.

HRH The Princess Royal meets members of the AAKSS medical team providing a medical demonstration.  Pictured from left to right: Dr Helen Bowcock OBE, DL, Chair of Trustees Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex,  David Welch Chief Exec AAKSS and HRH The Princess Royal.

“Amongst our latest innovations we have recently introduced a time critical transfer services, as part of this process we commissioned a unique custom-built simulator which replicates the interior of the new AW169 aircraft allowing us to train our team to take full advantage of the new aircraft cabin, including the ability to perform critical interventions and treat patients inflight.   ‘

“Over the last 30 years, AAKSS has been on an incredible journey and achieved so much however, we still have an ambitious vision which is to continue to introduce innovation to our service that ultimately results in us delivering best in class emergency services, saving more lives and improving many more patient outcomes.”

The Princess Royal completed the visit by unveiling a plaque to mark the 30th anniversary and meet some of the volunteers, fundraisers and patrons of the charity. 

Her Royal Highness was presented with a bouquet of flowers by former patient Jim Hardwick and his two daughters Primrose (6) and Mabel (4).

For further information visit: www.aakss.org.uk.

MDA Extends the Deployment of Defibrillators in the North of Israel


Twelve MDA CPR stands were posted in various communities in the north of the country in the past month, including Yarka, Rameh, Arraba, Yanuh-Jat, Granot HaGalil, Arab al-Aramshe, Sha’ab, Kabul, Peki’in, Deir al-Asad, Kaukab Abu al-Hijaand and  Hurfeish.

In addition to a defibrillator, in each stand there are also two EpiPen injectors for life-saving in the event of a severe allergy attack.

In each of the communities, between 10 to 20 residents were trained to be Life Guardians at Magen David Adom.

They have been trained and connected to the MDA First Responders App, so that in the event of a life-threatening case, such as cardiac arrest or anaphylactic shock, near them, they will be alerted and able to provide life-saving medical care until the ambulance arrives.

MDA is continuing to install CPR stands and training Life Guardians in the north of the country, and in the coming weeks defibrillators will be installed in ten other communities.

Senior EMT Sameeh Abd Elkader, who has instructed the Life Guardians in the communities, explained: “Providing an initial medical response in as short time as possible is critical to saving lives in various cases, such as cardiac arrest and an acute allergy attack.’

“The twelve resuscitation stands and one hundred and fifty Life Guardians we trained will improve the initial medical response in communities, in the first and critical minutes until the arrival of MDA teams.”

MDA Director General Eli Bin added: “Expanding the placing of defibrillators in communities in the North of the country is real news for the public.’

“In the event that a person suffers from cardiac arrest and collapses, civilians, even without medical knowledge, will be able to be guided by paramedics at MDA’s 101 Emergency Line, quickly bring the device and give the patient a life-saving electric shock.’

“This is in the first and critical minutes until the arrival of MDA teams. This is an important collaboration of the Ministry of Health, Magen David Adom and the communities, whose entire purpose is to improve the medical response in cases where every minute can make the difference between death and return to life. “

MDA Stand Set Up At Ben Gurion Airport to Check Passengers Returning From China


A dedicated Health Ministry stand, operated by MDA, has been operating at Ben Gurion Airport since the weekend.

At this stand, arriving passengers who have been in China within the previous 14 days, or who have come into contact with those who have recently been in China, are given a medical check.

This is part of the actions taken to prevent the Corona Virus from arriving in Israel. Leaflets given out to these passengers instruct them to attend the stand where Magen David Adom EMTs and Paramedics then carry out medical checks and question the passengers in accordance with Health Ministry protocols.

Magen David Adom is coordinating with the Health Ministry, the Israeli government and all relevant authorities who are dealing with this issue. MDA General Manager Eli Bin participated in a meeting about the crisis that was led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“MDA EMTs and Paramedics question and perform medical checks on the passengers who arrive at the stand, according to clear guidelines as provided by the Health Ministry. If necessary, passengers are then referred for further treatment by Health Ministry staff,” explained Deputy General Manager Dr Refael Strugo.

MDA Director General Eli Bin added: “We in Magen David Adom responded to the call by the Health Ministry, and since the weekend have placed EMTs and Paramedics at the dedicated stand at Ben Gurion Airport, 24 hours a day.’

“We are following the instructions of the Health Ministry and are fully prepared along with the government and other authorities to prevent further spread of the Corona virus.”

This safety measure follows a delivery of 2000 masks and 200 full protection kits including special suits, masks, glasses, shoes and hats covers (pictured right) from MDA to fourteen Chabad-based branches across China following a request from the Chabad organisation.

The shipment arrived to Hong-Kong last week on February 3rd, along with a Chabad Shaliach who will distribute the equipment.

New £8m ambulance station for Cardiff will boost productivity


A MULTI-MILLION pound new ambulance station is coming to Cardiff, it was announced today.

The Welsh government is investing £8 million in a state-of-the-art facility in the capital’s Pontprennau area, which will be the new home for emergency and non-emergency crews currently based in Blackweir. 

Emergency crews will collect their vehicles from the new station at the start of their shift and some will take up positions at deployment points across the city.

Left to Right: Catherine Darer (Area Operations Manager) Vaughan Gething (Health Minister) and Robert Brunnock (Locality Manager)

Dedicated Fleet Assistants will clean and re-stock vehicles in the station’s ‘Make Ready Depot’, enabling frontline crews are more readily available to respond to emergencies.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething was in Blackweir Ambulance Station to make the announcement.

He said: “This investment in the Welsh Ambulance Service shows our commitment to driving improvements in response times following my announcement last week of plans to increase ambulance availability through a Ministerial Taskforce.

Staff from the service at the announcement including Chief Executive Jason Killens (second right) at Blackweir Ambulance Station with Health Minister, Vaughan Gething

“The new station will give space for vehicles to be cleaned and restocked by a dedicated team, a job previously undertaken by ambulance crews, to enable frontline staff to be more readily available to respond to patients in the community.” 

A business case for the new premises was put together in full consultation with staff and Trade Union partners whilst a re-configuration of the industrial park’s Merton House has been led by the Cardiff-based Lawray Architects.

Renovations of the Merton House building on Avenue Industrial Park in Pontprennau will begin in May and take around a year to complete.

Chris Turley, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Interim Executive Director of Finance and ICT, said: “We welcome and thank the Minister for his investment in our new station.’

“This is the culmination of a number of years of planning and is a major step towards us finally vacating Blackweir station, which crews will agree is outdated and not fit for purpose.’

“We’re especially excited about the Make Ready Depot, which will enable our crews to access clean and fully stocked vehicles at all times, and thus spend more time in the community with patients — not to mention improving infection control.”

Vaughan Gething (Health Minister) in conversation with Alan Thomas (Locality Manager). In the background, Robert Brunnock (Locality Manager) stands on the left and Mark Cadman (Area Operations Manager) stands to the right

Robert Brunnock, the Trust’s Locality Manager in Cardiff, added: “It’s taken quite some time to progress this development, so we’re thrilled to be entering the next stages of acquisition and construction. 

“We would like to thank all who have been involved to date and look forward to progressing this modern and fully integrated facility for a leading ambulance service that serves the communities of Wales.”

Blackweir station’s fleet workshop will remain for the time being while a separate business case is developed with Welsh Government for consideration.