There’s a line from a British poem that’s now famous, “Good things come to those who wait.” Well, the young lad now known as Avishai Cohen would have none of that. This past March, he was coming into this world regardless of the fact that he was only six months into his gestation. Ready or not.
Avishai’s parents, Rabbi R. Cohen and his wife, called Magen David Adom’s 101 emergency hotline from their home in Netivot. The baby was coming fast — really fast. The emergency medical technician on the other end of the line provided instructions for preparing for the baby’s arrival and simultaneously dispatched a Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance to the scene.
When paramedic Ofir Peretz and EMT Yiftach Hershtig arrived just minutes later, the baby was already out and crying, a sign that things were well and that the baby was breathing. But at three months premature, the baby didn’t have a fully developed neural system and things went downhill rapidly. The baby soon went quiet, lapsed into unconsciousness, and required CPR.
While the parents watched in terror, the father asked Ofir if the baby would survive. The paramedic, who was working ceaselessly to restore the baby’s pulse and respiration, assured the father.
“You’ll be inviting me to the brit,” he said.
After many minutes and the application of multiple lifesaving measures, the baby’s pulse returned, and Ofir and Yiftach whisked the whole family onto the MICU ambulance and rushed them to Soroka University Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, where mom and the baby spent several days in intensive care units.
Several months later, Ofir’s prediction came to fruition. He and Yiftach attended Avishai’s brit milah, his ritual circumcision.
“Avishai” means “a gift from God.” But there were other gifts that also played a role in Avishai’s survival: The MICU ambulance that delivered him to the hospital, the neonatal CPR kit that helped restore his pulse, the training Ofir received, and MDA’s dispatch system, which instantly geolocated where the emergency was — all made possible by supporters of Magen David Adom. So, in a way, they played a role in this happy ending too.
“When Ofir and Yiftach entered the hall [where the brit was taking place], I was very excited to see them,” Rabbi Cohen said. “God sent them four months ago to be his apostles and today I have the privilege to thank them.”
“I promised his dad that he would invite us to the brit and was so excited to receive the invitation,” Ofir said. “It was great to attend and to see the baby safe and sound.”