London Community Donates Off-Road Ambucycle to Volunteer Who Saved One Of Their Own

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This story begins on Friday, July 12th, 2019, at 6:45 AM.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Eilon Lubiner, who, at the time, worked on a farm for youth at risk, had just finished milking the goats.

The early morning quiet, normally punctuated only by quaint animal sounds, was suddenly disrupted by the crackle of Eilon’s United Hatzalah communication device serious car accident, multiple victims.

The dedicated volunteer quickly jumped into his car and sped off towards the scene near the Good Samaritan junction. Eilon left his farm at the Mishom Adumim junction and arrived in just over 3 minutes.

Eilon was the first responder on-site and quickly surveyed the wreckage. Hearing a faint cry from the car, Eilon leaned into the vehicle, finding only one survivor with signs of life.

Eilon (left) and Elad (right) stand at the place where the accident occurred with the newly donated ambucycle
Photo credit: Yechiel Grufein — United Hatzalah

The veteran EMT, seeing that the victim was trapped by the mangled metal, caringly told him “I’m a medic and here to help you. Tell me what hurts you?”

The young man replied that he felt an extremely sharp pain in his arm and that he was bleeding heavily from the limb.

The experienced medic quickly removed his Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) from his medical kit and readied it for use.

Fortunately, a minute later a special rescue unit arrived which happened to be led by Eilon’s father, an experienced officer in the Israeli Fire Department.

Eilon on the new ambucycle
Photo credit: Yechiel Grufein — United Hatzalah

The crew rapidly cut away the side of the car and extricated the victim, whose arm was nearly completely severed.

As the patient was transferred from father to son, he lost consciousness.

Eilon, together with another medic, swiftly and proficiently applied the CAT, stopping the lethal blood flow and effectively saving the young man’s life.

An intensive care ambulance crew arrived and the paramedic administered pain relief drugs. Suddenly, the victim lost consciousness and the team worked feverishly to stabilize his condition.

A few minutes later the man regained consciousness and was whisked away to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital for emergency microsurgery.

The following week, Eilon contacted the man’s parents and was pleased to hear that the surgery was successful and that the doctors were hopeful that the young man would regain the full use of his arm.

The inscription on the ambucycle
Photo credit: Yechiel Grufein — United Hatzalah

Meanwhile, Eli Beer, the founder and President of United Hatzalah, had received an email from his good friend Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld. The Rabbi related to Eli that he was in Mt. Scopus hospital with his grandson, Elad, who had survived a horrible car accident that took the lives of 2 of his friends. 

Shortly afterward, Eli, together with Eilon’s father who had led the extrication team, visited Elad in the hospital.

The Friday after the accident, Eilon also visited Elad in the hospital. It was an emotional visit between the two previous strangers who now felt the deep bond of survivor and lifesaver.

Eilon also met Elad’s grateful parents who, at a loss for words, simply embraced the United Hatzalah volunteer who had literally saved their son’s life and limb.

Eilon kept tabs on Elad and visited him every couple of weeks and also got regular updates from his parents.

“It was incredibly moving for me to get these updates from his parents to see how he was coming along especially after having seen him at the beginning”, Eilon said.

“Every time or my father went to visit him, we shook his left hand to see how he was coming along and whether he was able to move it,”

11 months later, the family showed their gratitude by donating a specialized ambucycle to United Hatzalah just for Eilon.

Eilon on the new ambucycle
Photo credit: Yechiel Grufein — United Hatzalah

“The ambucycle is uniquely outfitted for the terrain in the Judean desert where I live and work. It is a motorcycle that can ride both on the roads as well as on sandy and difficult terrain”, Eilon continued.

“I work in areas where the only way to get there is with dirt roads. We also have a lot of search and rescue operations on the hills and mountains of the Judean desert and a regular motorcycle would not be able to traverse the difficult terrain.” 

“It was so moving for me to see him on his feet, fully healed at the site of the accident. Seeing his whole family at the dedication event, really brought the message home to me that when we save a person we really do save an entire world.”

“I am incredibly thankful to the family for donating this ambucycle to the organization. I will use and endeavor to save as many lives as I can.” 

Elad also wished to thank Eilon for all of his help: “I hope that the motorcycle which my family was able to donate to United Hatzalah for Eilon will help him save others as he saved me’

“It is a small thing that we could do to help him in his efforts, far smaller than what he did for me. He is truly an amazing human being.”

Elad’s father Ra’anan spoke about why the family decided to make the donation to United Hatzalah and why they wanted this specialized ambucycle to go to Eilon: “We met Eilon and his wife Emunah in the waiting room at Hadassah Ein Kerem’s intensive care unit just a few days after Elad’s accident.’

“The meeting was very powerful for us. Eilon described each minute of what happened for Elad after the accident until he was rescued and taken by ambulance to Har HaTzofim hospital.’

Eilon receiving the ambucycle at the dedication ceremony as the Hirsh family (left) looks on.
Photo credit: Yechiel Grufein — United Hatzalah

“We were very emotional and moved to tears. We hugged Eilon and a connection quickly developed between him and our family that is difficult to describe in words.”

A few weeks later we were asked to speak at the WMA Synagogue in London for the Kol Nidre address.

“The address has been slated to be a fundraising drive for United Hatzalah even before the accident took place, but after the dramatic rescue of Eilon, the Shul’s Rabbi, who is also my father-in-law and Elad’s grandfather, asked us to speak about the rescue itself”, continued Ra’anan.

“To help raise money during Kol Nidre in support of United Hatzalah is something we were happy to do. We asked the Kehilla that the donation be made specifically for a new heavy-duty ambucycle for Eilon.’

“My family and I thank Hashem for giving us this opportunity to say thank you and to recognize the gift that Eilon and United Hatzalah gave to us.” 

Air Ambulance Heroes Need Your Help

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Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has announced that it has raised more than £1m so far through its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

However, despite the generousity of all those who could donate, this is just over a third of the total shortfall which the charity was predicting.

Air Ambulances are reserved for only the most urgent and distressing emergencies which occur in our communities.

Recent cancellations of major events and a sudden decrease in fundraising income has caused a notable decrease in the vital funds which they need in order to operate and to serve us.

The life-saving charity launched its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal in April to cover the additional costs of operating its world-class pre-hospital emergency response service safely during the pandemic.

As a charity, this vital service relies heavily charitable donations from people like you, with some money also coming from grants.

KSS Crew with an emergency Air Ambulance

It costs KSS £14 million a year to deliver its emergency service, in which specialist doctors and paramedics provide critical treatment to patients at the scene of serious incidents where only the very highest skills sets available will do.

89% of these funds are typically raised through the incredible generosity of the people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the amazing people who volunteer and fundraise for them.

However, during this unprecedented year, the charity has been forced to launch an Emergency Appeal for the first time in its 30 year history.

KSS emergency Air Ambulance in flight

The charity has managed to raise £1m to date, thanks to the generous support from the public which has formed 86% of the money raised, and a Government grant which was shared across the 21 Air Ambulance charities within the UK.

Because all major fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and many traditional methods of raising money are now severely challenged, KSS is still facing a significant income shortfall and must raise a further £1.9m to ensure it can continue to save lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

David Welch, CEO of KSS commented: “We simply cannot thank people enough for the support we have received so far.’

View from a KSS emergency Air Ambulance helicopter

“When we launched our appeal, we aimed to raise £535,000 initially to meet the immediate additional costs of continuing our life-saving service during the pandemic and we have received an amazing response.’

“It is truly humbling how generous people can be. We’ve received help from a wide range of sources and in a variety of forms — from financial donations from our supporters and the communities we serve, through to PPE from local businesses, the loan of four vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover and a large supply of oil and AdBlue for our response vehicles from Moove.’

“Every single donation, every single gift has helped, and we are so thankful to everyone who has responded so far.’

“Yet, despite this and the contribution from Government, with the continued impact of the pandemic we still face a significant shortfall of £1.9m.’

“Last year, we were called out to help over 2,500 people in life-threatening situations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.’

“We have an outstanding, highly skilled medical team and we are determined to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients and to continue to run our charity efficiently and responsibly.’

KSS Crew proudly show their gratitude for the £1m raised

“To secure our future, we urgently need your continued support – there are so many ways you can join those in the community who have already supported and got involved.’

“Let’s work together to continue to save lives during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

KSS has been rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in all five of its inspection criteria: ‘safe’, ‘effective’, ‘caring’, ‘responsive’ and ‘well-led’.

It is the only Air Ambulance Service to have achieved this, as well as being the busiest in the UK. KSS is also the only UK Air Ambulance Service which is able to fly to emergencies 24/7.  

To support the KSS Coronavirus Emergency Appeal, please visit www.aakss.org.uk/appeal

Virtual Event Replaces Popular Rescue Day This Year

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After the coronavirus pandemic caused this year’s popular Rescue Day to be cancelled, organisers are marking the day online instead looking back at previous years of the event.

Saturday 11th July will see the Rescue Day social media accounts come alive with videos and pictures of the best bits of the last few years.

The team behind Rescue Day, the annual 999 day held at 7 Lakes Country Park in Crowle, North Lincolnshire, didn’t want the day to pass without remembering some of the fantastic fun and action which takes place.

The hugely popular day promotes the great work of our emergency and voluntary services and attracts crowds in the tens of thousands.

999 vehicles and crews including Police, fire, ambulance, water rescue, air ambulance, search and rescue, rail and highways rescue and recovery teams and many more, normally all come together to show the public what they do through a series of live action displays.

Chris Long, Chair of the Rescue Day Society, said: “Like many thousands of events across the country Rescue Day cannot take place this year, however we wanted to still celebrate the great work of our emergency services and voluntary organisations by having a virtual Rescue Day looking back at some of the action packed scenarios and fun that has taken place over recent years.’

“Many of the volunteers who make Rescue Day happen are emergency service staff or key-workers themselves and therefore have been working hard over the last few months, for which I want to pass on my sincere thanks.”

Chris went on to say: “I know the many thousands of visitors who attend Rescue Day with their families will sadly be missing the day this year, but hopefully they will enjoy the range of videos and content we will be sharing online.’

“I’m sure everyone will be pleased to know that we have already set a date for Rescue Day 2021 as Saturday 10th July and we hope that we will be able to return for another live action packed day in Crowle.”

Rescue Day raises money for charities and good causes and has funded many lifesaving public defibrillators which have been placed in local communities over recent years.

Last year donations were also presented to Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, the Scunthorpe Sea Cadets, plus volunteer rescue teams including York Rescue Boat, Humber Rescue and International Rescue Corps.

Donations were also given to the popular Pete Lewin Newfoundland rescue and support dogs organisation and to the volunteer animal rescuers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Further donations to good causes will be announced online on Saturday 11th July.

Enjoy the virtual Rescue Day from 10am on Saturday 11th July on social media

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rescuedayuk
Twitter: @Rescue_Day
Instagram: @rescueday

More information can be found at www.rescueday999.com

Welsh Ambulance Service’s Work with Dementia Community Celebrated in TV Documentary

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The Welsh Ambulance Service’s work with the dementia community is being celebrated in a new documentary series which explores the ground-breaking advances being made to help people with the disease.

A link to the docu-series available at the end of this article.

Hope in the Age of Dementia examines how the Trust has enlisted the support of people with dementia to help shape and deliver training across the workforce.

The programme, a joint venture by the ITN Productions and Alzheimer’s Disease International, also hears from leaders in the field of neuroscience, research and drug discovery.

Alison Johnstone, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Programme Manager for Dementia, said: “For people living with dementia, using an ambulance – whether it’s for an emergency or a planned trip – can often be a stressful experience.

Alison Johnstone,
Programme Manager for Dementia, WAST,
Appearing on Hope in the Age of Dementia

“We’re really trying to understand the needs of people living with dementia so that we can strengthen and improve our services in future.’

“What’s been wonderful is that people living with dementia are involved in that work and are front and centre delivering that training with us, and for us.”

People with dementia have also been invited into the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centres to see how 999 calls are triaged, as well as to ambulance stations to offer a view on how dementia-friendly they find the vehicles, equipment and uniforms.

Linda Willis, of Newport, who was diagnosed with dementia aged 61, has been among those involved in the work.

“It’s given me such a confidence boost, I can’t praise the ambulance service enough,” she said.

“They actually listen to what people with dementia want and need from the service, and have delivered it, and that means so much.”

A still from ITN Productions and Alzheimer’s Disease International’s new documentary series, ‘Hope in the Age of Dementia’

Dementia affects more than 50 million people worldwide and this number is expected to more than triple by 2050.

Funding from Welsh Government has helped make much of the Trust’s work a reality.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service’s innovative work to improve the experiences of people living with dementia exemplifies the aims set out in our Dementia Action Plan for Wales, recognising the different ways in which people living with dementia require support.

“This co-productive approach to developing and delivering training shows the value of listening to people living with dementia and rightly ensures services are person-centred.”
Claire Roche, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, added: “Knowing how to recognise dementia and respond appropriately can make all the difference to a patient’s support, care and treatment.

“That’s why we’re so committed to hearing first-hand about their experience, so that we can make our services even better for them.

“This programme is an incredible opportunity for the Welsh Ambulance Service to showcase our dementia work and promote the exciting dementia programme we have in Wales.”  

Hope in the Age of Dementia can be viewed here.

South Western Ambulance Service Trust Welcomes new CEO Will Warrender

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South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is pleased to welcome incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Will Warrender CBE.

Will succeeds Ken Wenman, who retires, after more than 40 years’ service in the NHS.

“We are very excited that Will is joining us, bringing a wealth of leadership experience in complex and challenging environments,” said Chairman Tony Fox.  

With over 30 years’ Royal Navy experience, Will has spent much of his time at sea, where he commanded five warships; and ashore he led national and coalition maritime operations across 2.5 million square miles of water, in the Gulf.

Will Warrender CBE,
CEO, SWASFT

In 2018 he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the military Operational Honours List and was awarded the US Legion of Merit in 2017 for his contribution to coalition maritime operations in the Gulf.

“His personal values are a great alignment with those of the Trust and we know that he will be an inclusive and compassionate leader, able to take us forward as we continue our drive to be an outstanding organisation in all that we do.’

“Finally, I would like to say thank you and to recognise the commitment and contribution Ken Wenman has made to SWASFT and to the Ambulance sector as a whole throughout his career.’

“Ken has driven innovation into the sector and has been instrumental in the development of paramedic clinical practices.’

“He was also at the forefront of successful mergers that shaped the Regional Service we have today. We wish him all the very best in his well-earned retirement,” said Mr Fox.

Outgoing-CEO Ken Wenman said: “It has been my privilege to serve the people and south west communities as SWASFT CEO.’

“We have a team of fantastic people and a firm foundation of patient-centred service on which to grow, under the next chapter of leadership.’

Ken Wenman,
CEO (Retired),
SWASFT

“Choosing the right time to retire has not been an easy decision; however SWASFT is in a good position and I am confident that the Board, led by Tony Fox and new CEO Will Warrender will seize the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

CEO Will Warrender said: “I am truly honoured to join the Trust at this highly unusual time — mid-global pandemic. Over the past few months, I have been inspired by the courage, dedication and continued commitment to patient and staff care.’

“I am reassured that my transition into the role will be supported by a caring Board, a strong Executive team and passionate people, where together we will maintain service continuity as the south west region manages and mitigates the impacts of Covid-19.

“My commitment as CEO is to compassionately lead a Trust that treats its people with respect, care, dignity and a culture that promotes transparency, inclusion, honesty, engagement, fairness, diversity and challenge.

“Together with our people and through patient and community feedback, I will be taking us on a  journey to achieve our 2025 and 2030 goals to deliver a world-class service, by making sure we are operationally fit-for-the-future and able to cope with increased demands of activity,” said Mr Warrender.

From July, Will sets out to safely meet as many of our 4500-strong workforce and 800 volunteers as possible, from across SWASFT. This will be achieved through carefully organised meetings using social distancing measures, personal protective equipment and virtual forums.

Green-Fingered Firefighters Display Appreciation to Ambulance Service Colleagues

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Bedford firefighters who were enlisted to help the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) drive ambulances during the Coronavirus pandemic have designed and built a memorial garden at Luton ambulance station to show appreciation to their new workmates.

The inspiration for the ‘DIY SOS’ makeover came after the firefighters from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue saw two bouquets in the garden in memory of much-missed ambulance workers who had died of cancer and suicide.

They strongly felt that a much grander tribute was needed which would also serve as a tranquil environment to relax during breaks. 

With no Percy Throwers or Alan Titchmarshs in the group, the firefighters sought the help of Bruce Liddle of Newbury Farm Plant in Silsoe who not only gave advice on the design of the garden but also supplied the plants for free.

Mike King, one of the firefighters working as an ambulance driver at EEAST, said: “The fire team have really enjoyed working alongside such a passionate and dedicated group of people during the pandemic.

“They have made us feel so welcome and we thought the best way to say thank you was to leave a lasting memory by building the memorial garden — something they have been trying to get enough funds together to build for some time.

“We wanted to ensure that it was just right, knowing full well how important it is to them, and I am glad it has been so well received.”

Simon King, head of operations at EEAST for Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, says the whole of the team have been bowled over by the gesture.

“I would like to thank the firefighters for this phenomenal gift which has been so appreciated by everyone in the team,” he said.

“The way the firefighters have fitted into the teams right across Bedfordshire has been remarkable and both services are looking to build on this collaborative spirit and camaraderie. There are already a number of projects we are working on together to benefit patients.

“The garden itself is magnificent and is a fitting tribute to our much-missed colleagues.”