Gal, whose last name was withheld, is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with United Hatzalah in Northern Israel. He and his 15-year-old son were at a mall in Natanya last Thursday to have sushi for lunch.
Kids were running around the restaurant when one 5-year-old boy suddenly froze. Gal rushed to the distressed child and found he was barely breathing.
The boy’s mother explained that he was asthmatic and that this was not his first attack and assured Gal everything was under control.
My son is severely allergic to peanuts. He has two EpiPens, one of which he always carries with him. One of the EpiPens had been misplaced and so we decided to go to the mall clinic to get a prescription for another pen. After finishing our sushi, we walked around for a while before heading up to the fifth floor, where the clinic is located.
Exiting the elevator, father and son stepped into pandemonium. The boy from the sushi restaurant was lying unconscious, barely breathing and suffering convulsions.
Gal took over, suspecting anaphylaxis. He asked the mother whether the boy had any allergies. She replied that he apparently had a sensitivity and that they were still in the process of uncovering his allergic triggers.
With no epinephrine or oxygen available at the clinic, the boy’s life hung by a thread.
Gal’s son handed him his auto-injector and with the approval of the clinic’s physician, injected the boy in his thigh, administering the life-saving epinephrine.
Moments later, the swelling and hives disappeared and the boy was able to breathe again. Returning to consciousness, he began crying, his mother hugging him and crying too.
Gal recalled how quickly the boy’s limp, blue body returned to life after the epinephrine was administered.
An ambulance crew arrived 15 minutes later, taking the boy to a local hospital for treatment and observation.
Later, the family sought the good samaritan that saved their boy’s life and phoned Gal to thank him. Doctors at the hospital told the family that had it not been for Gal’s intervention, the boy would surely have died as his organs had already begun to shut down.
My son almost died two years ago when he suffered an intense allergic reaction. He was completely blue and wasn’t breathing. I saved his life by administering an EpiPen. Now, his EpiPen saved another child’s life. The mother told me on Friday when she reached out that Thursday, the day of the incident, was her birthday. She said I had given her the best birthday gift, her son’s life.
Our congratulations to Gal and his son for their life-saving efforts. We are relieved tragedy was averted and the boy is recovering. Our best wishes go out to all.
This serves as an important reminder that when the unthinkable happens, the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis is epinephrine.
Don’t leave your life support at home. Take two epinephrine auto-injectors along everywhere, every time, and don’t hesitate to administer the drug when you first suspect anaphylaxis.
Remember: the sooner you administer epinephrine in response to anaphylaxis, the better the outcome.