Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"We Have No Choice"

Check out this amazing story by Jeff Foster and Mike Taigman of EMS Magazine, who rode around with Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance crews in the spring of 2002. There are many poignant parts, and some utterly revolting:

One week after the pistol-packing shopper saved dozens of lives by killing the would-be suicide bomber, the MDA dispatch center in Jerusalem receives a call from Fatah, one of Yasser Arafat's terrorist organizations. The caller says there will be an attack in three minutes. He won't say where. Moments later, paramedic Asef Perlman is smoking a cigarette outside the MDA station in Efrata when a 16-year-old Palestinian boy carrying a backpack walks up the hill past the station. Asef calls to him, "Hey, where ya going?" The boy replies, "I'm just gonna get some cigarettes." Asef tells him that since it's Passover, the store is closed. Hearing voices outside, the EMTs and volunteers in the station wander out to see what's going on. Looking down at his watch, Asef says to the boy, "Besides, it's past curfew; you're really not supposed to be here." The boy mumbles something about going on. As Asef grabs him, the boy explodes.

The brave heroic Palestinian resistance, using teenage boys as suicide bombers against ambulance crews. And these ambulance crews are something else, too:

If this situation happened in America -— a group of EMTs watching a young boy blow up in the arms of their partner -— you'd expect certain things to happen. The EMTs would be off work for a few months and undergo extensive counseling/CISD. There is a chance that some or all of them might never come back to work at all. This is one of those areas that separates this remarkable group of Israeli EMS professionals from any EMS folks we've ever worked with. We asked them, "How much time did you take off after this incident?" They gave us a funny look. . . As we finished interviewing these folks, Dr. Glick, an Orthodox Jew, received a page asking him to respond to a Palestinian clinic to help treat a febrile child suspected to have meningitis.
While you're at MDA, consider making a contribution.

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