Success Story

Shani was relaxing with her father in the living room of their home, when she suddenly watched him slump over on the couch, right before her eyes. Hearing her daughter’s panicked shrieks, Mrs. Annette Klein quickly came over from the kitchen. “I took one look at my husband’s face. When I saw his eyes roll back, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew this was serious. Every second could literally spell the difference between life and death.”

While Mrs. Klein tended to her husband, Shani called Hatzalah.

As one dispatcher took the details from Shani, his co-dispatcher was already putting out call, giving the address along with the code blue signal. Shlomo Katz and his fellow Hatzalah paramedics arrived at the Klein home, less than 3 minutes from when Shani placed the call. “The situation did not look good at all,” says Shlomo. “I wasn’t getting a pulse at all. Mr. Klein’s condition is known as V-Fib or Ventricular Fibrillation, a lethal heart rhythm, which often degenerates quickly to “flat-line” – meaning total stoppage of the heart. Indeed after a several shock attempts by the Hatzalah paramedics, the monitor hooked up to Sruli Klein’s heart showed a flat, green, horizontal line.

His heart was no longer beating.

Total heart stoppage causes the body’s veins to collapse, making finding a vein for insertion of an IV line extremely difficult. It is precisely for such instances, that all Hatzalah’s paramedics carry along with them, an I-O drill. The I-O drill is a highly sophisticated and costly piece of equipment that quickly drills through the bone, allowing for “Intraosseous Infusion” directly into the marrow. In this case, the I-O drill allowed the Hatzalah paramedics to administer two rounds of critical meds within a matter of seconds. Miraculously, Mr. Klein’s heart went from “flat-line” to “V-Tach” or Ventricular Tachycardia. While V-Tach is also a lethal heart rhythm, it provides another precious opportunity to administer shock to the heart.

The Hatzalah paramedics applied one more shock, and Sruli's heart rate converted to SVT or Supraventricular Tachycardia – pumping at approximately 180 beats per minute. With bated breaths, the team watched Mr. Klein's heart gradually slow to a pace of about 160 – still dangerously high, but somewhat within the sustainable range. Mr. Klein could now safely be transported to the St. Francis ER, where the Hatzalah team swiftly facilitated his urgent care.

An angiogram showed that Sruli had four blocked arteries. An emergency quadruple bypass was scheduled, and Mr. Klein is now able to talk about the story, in good health.

"We stayed with the family in the hospital for about two hours that night," recalls Shlomo. "In Hatzalah, patients are not just patients, they are friends and neighbors." There is a very special feeling, knowing you’ve literally brought someone back – not from near death, but from absolute medical, clinical death."

Like countless others in the community, Mrs. Annette Klein says, "Today, my husband is alive only because Hatzalah."