Jan 24, 2012

Teenagers Deliver Babies In Ambulance From Bet Shemesh

In an unusual story, two 16 year old boys delivered a woman's twins when she went into labor on her way from Bet Shemesh to Jerusalem recently.

Births in ambulances are nothing unusual. The distance to Jerusalem is significant enough, especially when there is traffic, but not only, that not always can they get to the hospital in time. As the city continues to grow, it increases the need for a local hospital or birthing center.

So, the ambulance picks up the woman in labor, a mother of five kids already, with two on the way out. The paramedics in the ambulance, besides for the driver, were two teenage volunteers.

As they got to the Harel interchange, the ambulance had to pull over to deliver the babies. With the teenage volunteers regularly escorting expecting women to the hospital, this was the first time they would find themselves delivering a baby on the side of a road (or anywhere for that matter). To their credit, they rolled up their sleeves and did a fine job bringing those twins into the world. Mazal tov! And kol hakavod to these two volunteers, both for being volunteers and doing great work, and for staying calm and doing what needed to be done under difficult circumstances.

You can see more of the incidents details on Ynet..

A nice follow-up to the story is that the boys later went back to the hospital to pay a visit to the woman and her twins. The parents had bought a present for the MADA volunteers that had helped them, and also promised to invite them to the kids eventual bar and bat mitzvah parties. They also took the opportunity to view the incident as a bridging opportunity, considering the recent tensions between dati leumi (the community the teenagers are from) and haredi (the community the family is from) communities in Bet Shemesh.

As nice as the story is, I am surprised that there would be just two teenagers working the back of an ambulance and no adult volunteer along with them. As well, it highlights the need for a more local solution for giving birth.


  1. It happened to me .....I volunteered for MADA for 6 weeks when I was 18, at my second delivery (day number 4) I was the most experienced volunteer!!! My third delivery was twins from Abu Ghosh, and the Mother didnt even realize that there were 2 in there!!! Oh, and we only had 1 birthing kit!!!

  2. Dati Leumi kids?

    How is this possible?

    I thought only Charedim knew how to do chesed and help others!

  3. Maybe the article is putting too much emphasis on them being "kids" - they may be unpaid but they aren't candy stripers. They took the course and are legally able to work in an ambulance.

    Also the driver is generally the senior member of the team, and he's pictured also. I'm sure his role is being downplayed as well. Remember he did park the ambulance for the delivery.

  4. Looks like you all didn't read the original Hebrew article very carefully.

    1. 16 year old volunteers are *not* paramedics. Paramedic is a level of certification and licensure. MDA regularly uses high school age volunteers going back to before my time in the 80s in MDA. When I was a senior medic in the 90s briefly in K. Shmonah, we heavily relied on them.

    2. The article pretty clearly states that the paramedic, who was driving , pulled over to prepare for the delivery and the volunteers assisted him. It is pretty standard to have a stable, safe pregnant patient in the back watched by a trained volunteer who can alert the medic driving if they need to pull over for imminent delivery or some other complication. Otherwise, it is perfectly safe and sensible to have the volunteer in back monitor the patient while the adult medic crewmember drives.

    Unlike in the US, it is still pretty common for an understaffed ambulance in Israel to have one adult crewmember supported by youth volunteers. It usually works quite well (and isn't legal in many places in the US, by comparison). That experience is what allowed me to work with untrained and undertrained volunteers in rural EMS settings in the US. The Israeli kids are usually very well trained, and get lots of good experience. Gives them a head start when they want to be combat medics during their army service.

  5. When I gave birth in an ambulance on my way to the hospital from bet shemesh the 25 year old guy sitting in the back with me seemed totally freaked out. I think that i would have preferred the calm 16 year olds!

  6. Chani - i hope your comment is a "tongue in cheek" one.

  7. Anon,

    Of course it's tongue in cheek.

    Some of the greatest chesed in Bet Shemesh (and in other places) is done by Dati Leumi.

    I just don't understand why many DL believe that Charedim do things better (ie Badat'z hechsher, charedi tzedaka,etc)

  8. why the greatest? No doubt its great, but enlighten us what makes it the greatest


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