One of the newest volunteers with United Hatzalah, Dr. Issam Odeh of Jerusalem got off to an auspicious start.

By: Abigail Klein Leichman; israel21c.org

Dr. Murad Odeh, center, with the directors of Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization, United Hatzalah. Photo: courtesy

Earlier [last] month, the East Jerusalem chapter of Israel’s voluntary neighborhood-based emergency response network, United Hatzalah, welcomed new member Dr. Murad Issam Odeh at a celebratory event honoring 30 Arab volunteer emergency medical technicians, paramedics and doctors in Israel’s capital city.

During the dinner, Odeh received his United Hatzalah first responder reflective vest and medical kit. The kit was put to use just a short time later that evening when one of the EMS volunteers ate something that caused an immediate severe allergic reaction.

“I saw him begin to show signs of a severe allergic reaction. He began to develop a rash over his face and his eyes began to water,” Odeh recalled. “Before his situation could deteriorate any further, I administered an intramuscular steroid with an antihistamine and we closely observed him for 20 minutes as he began to stabilize.”

Odeh, a pediatrician who lives and works in Jerusalem, is new to EMS work. He was told about United Hatzalah by a close friend who volunteers with the organization.

“I’ve always wanted to volunteer as a first responder,” said Odeh. “It has been a dream of mine ever since I began studying medicine. For me, now is the time. I couldn’t do it while I was studying or in residency as I simply didn’t have the time. However, now I am able to go out and help as a doctor. I want to help as many people as I can.”

In the first two weeks of volunteering, Odeh has already saved lives.

“I am about to spend a week working in Tiberias. I have been in touch with the United Hatzalah chapter there as well as the other chapters of the organization in the north of the country, letting them know that I am coming and that I am available to assist if need be. That is the beauty of being a part of a national organization. No matter where I go, no matter what time of day, I can be of help to someone, even at my own inauguration party,” he said.


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