One late evening in the midst of an overnight shift, Ariel Halevy, a nurse at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, in the Department of General Surgery, was making his way through the department when he heard noticeable sounds of distressed breathing coming from a patient room. While the room wasn’t one that Ariel was assigned to as a nurse, he knew there was no time to waste.
He ran into the room and found a man, Raphael Darr, desperately trying to breathe while holding tightly to the armchair next to the patient bed alongside him. Ariel was able to determine that the patient was the man’s wife, and he was accompanying her for the night. He approached him and quickly assessed that the man was losing consciousness. Ariel called out for further medical assistance while continuing to monitor the man’s vitals.
“I don’t really know what led me be there at that time, and it was really a matter of chance. That patient room was all the way on the other side of the corridor from where I was working,” Ariel recalls. “I determined he had extremely high blood pressure and soaring pulse and together with two fellow nurses, Aviya and Racheli, we were able to get him transferred for immediate attention in the Emergency Department.”
After some further testing, the patient was quickly admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, under the care of Dr. Elad Asher where the medical teams determined the patient was experiencing life-threatening cardiac arrest which required shocking his heart three times alongside other life-saving measures including resuscitation.
But in large part due to Ariel’s early intervention and professional sense that something was wrong, three days later the man was released from the hospital in good condition. He is now able to continue to be alongside his wife who remains hospitalized for a complex illness that has required ongoing treatment for several months.
Raphael says he has very little recollection of what happened that night but is so thankful to Ariel for being there to save his life. “I had no prior indications that this was coming as I was in overall good health. My wife had been hospitalized for several weeks after detecting an intestinal tumor and I spent many hours alongside her bed praying for her recovery. All the holidays were spent here and throughout it all the staff has been so helpful and supportive. I’m happy to say that I feel great and all the more thankful to know that we’re in the best of hands. I know for sure that if [Ariel] hadn’t gotten to me in time, by morning there would have been no one to be treating. Hashem performed a huge miracle and sent Ariel as our angel at the very right place and time.”
Dr. Dmitry Dratva who treated Raphael says that he was extremely lucky and this was certainly a case where the patient’s life was saved by the awareness of the nursing staff in the Surgical Department. “Raphael was released home in good condition, and we will continue to closely monitor his progress and wish him and his wife a full and complete recovery.”
Prof. Michael Glickson, Director of the Jesselson Integrated Heart Center added, “Older people dealing with increased stress and personal challenges can on occasion experience serious cardiac episodes. In such instances, early detection and professional intervention can make all the difference.”