Manhattan, NY – What should have been a routine commute was anything but when Israel’s United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer found himself responding to a medical emergency on one of his agency’s specialized ambucycles in Midtown Manhattan this morning.
Beer was on his way to a 10 AM meeting with a potential donor when he saw a police officer providing medical attention to a man laying on the ground at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 50th Street. Despite knowing that he had little time to spare, Beer pulled over and offered his services, with all of the necessary medical equipment efficiently housed on the back of his ambucycle.
“As a medic, my first responsibility is to provide assistance,” Beer told VIN News. “Obviously I didn’t want to be late but when you see someone on the floor you have to stop and help.”
Beer said he spent 10 minutes with the patient, who had suffered a serious concussion and was bleeding, leaving only once an ambulance arrived on scene.
Although he ended up being 15 minutes late to an important meeting, Beer said that there was no doubt in his mind that stopping to help had definitely been the right course of action.
Today was not the first time that Beer found himself responding to an emergency in Manhattan. As previously reported on VIN News, Beer was in New York City when Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012, and he spent the night at the height of the epic storm evacuating patients from New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
United Hatzalah keeps five ambucycles in North American cities which Beer takes with him on visits to donors and public speaking events in order to demonstrate the motorbikes’ unique abilities which allow its 800 members to respond to calls in under two minutes. Beer said that the ambucycles are located in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.
“Every time I drive one people stop me in the streets and I tell them this is how we save lives in Israel,” said Beer. “We have all of the medical equipment we need, including a defibrillator on the back of the bike and everyone is amazed by this idea that we started in Israel.”
Beer said that there are others in Israel who have copied United Hatzalah’s ambucycle design and that he looked forward to helping Hatzolah in American come up with a similar concept should they ever decide to adopt his model, whose small size allows emergency responders to slip in and out of traffic with ease.
“When Hatzolah here wants it, we will help them design it,” said Beer. “We would love to support it.”
Asked by bystanders who were amazed to see an Israeli Hatzalah member in action on the streets of New York City Beer quipped smilingly, “you can call us from Israel and we will be here in New York in 90 seconds.”