This story sounds like an action-packed romantic movie script: Adi and Matti Kolani are both MDA EMTs and ambulance drivers. They are MDA volunteers, married, and Matti is seven months pregnant. They received a call to a stabbing terror attack a minute from their location, and when they arrived on scene realized that the victim was their friend. The two of them worked with great diligence and professionalism, conveyed the victim to hospital, and even returned home in time to make dinner for their eight children.
Adi and Matti, both MDA volunteers and EMTs, are first responders in Har Chevron in the Negev Region. The two are used to attending complex scenes, with accidents, and other trauma calls. Adi has already attended several terror attacks, while for Matti this was her first time at such a scene.
The two run a real estate business and were near the location of the attack in order to present a business proposal, when they were suddenly alerted on the MDA communication network to an incident just a minute away from their location. Within seconds, they were in the ambulance that they have with them at all times, and within a minute they were at the scene.
What did you see when you arrived at the scene?
Adi: “We saw the terrorist on the ground having been neutralized, and next to him was the victim who had been stabbed in several places, and with a serious bleed from his neck. He was in a life-threatening situation and we had to act quickly to stop the bleed. I was surprised to see that it was Elyashiv, our friend. He was extremely stressed.”
Matti, you’re in advanced stages of pregnancy. What did you feel when you walked into this scene?
“Walking into a terror attack scene is like walking into a war. You see the terrorist on the ground, and the victim next to him with a bleeding wound from the neck, and you realize someone tried to slaughter him. There’s no other way to say it. There’s an instant moment of shock, but then very quickly you switch into automatic mode, you put your feelings aside and start treating the patient. I took the kit big off me and along with Adi we put pressure on the wound to prevent his condition from deteriorating, and stop him losing a life-threatening amount of blood.
Adi, is it more difficult to treat someone you know? To treat a friend?
“Yes, of course. We’ve been to car accidents where we have treated friends, and this case was also a special one. But we know how to put our feelings to one side, and provide him the best treatment we can. It’s what we are best at.
Did the patient speak to you? Tell you what happened?
Adi: “He did. When we arrived he was fully conscious, and we immediately started to treat him. More MDA teams quickly arrived at the scene, and we placed the patient in the ambulance. We continued to treat him, and place pressure on the wound, and throughout the whole journey, Elyashiv, the victim, told us he had a premonition about this attack. He even received death threats. He was very stressed, and we tried to keep him calm.”
Matti: “We arrived at hospital very quickly, handed over treatment of the patient, who we considered to be in moderate condition, and he was immediately placed in the trauma room for treatment. We went back to our routine, but we can’t deny that this will stay with us for some time.”
Adi: The fact that we were so close to the scene, both of us together, with a radio and a well equipped EMT kit bag, the fact that the farm-worker managed to quickly neutralize the terrorist and to prevent him from killing Elyashiv, the fact that he waited for us by the side of the road to direct us to the exact location, something that saved a lot of time, all of these helped us to provide life-saving treatment, and this incident ended by us saving the patient’s life. We thank MDA for giving us the advanced equipment, thanks to which we saved a life.”