Cracking the Code
I am a medical student in Pavia, Italy, doing my fifth year out of six. It is summertime, and, as I’ve done every summer for years, I’ve returned to my small hometown in the south of Israel. There, among other things, I volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross.
It’s 7:30 on a Friday morning. I’m at the Red Cross office, talking with the paramedic and a doctor, when a young volunteer runs in.
“There’s a car pulling up outside–they’re bringing an unconscious patient!” he says.
The paramedic goes to get the advanced life support equipment, and the doctor and I quickly go out to the car.
The patient, a pale, eighty-year-old women, sits in the front seat. Her family says that she complained of chest pain, so they drove her here. She lost consciousness on the way.
We whisk her out of the car and begin chest compressions right there on the pavement. The equipment arrives almost instantly, and we have plenty of staff and volunteers around to help perform CPR. Even though …