It’s 3:00 AM. Dark outside. The world is asleep. The shrill tone of a phone wakes him up. “Hello,” he answers groggily, unsure if the phone was part of his dream or not. “He can’t breathe! I’m so scared! The doctor says he needs an oxygen concentrator! Please, oh please help us!” Gone was the grogginess. In its place was concern and professionalism. The right questions were asked and answered. A trained volunteer was immediately dispatched with the machine and the Ezer Mizion director returned to his dreams…for a few minutes. Three (!) more calls from frightened families in Israel. One after the other, after the other. Three more concentrators set up. In the space of one dark, frightening hour, four corona patients who were able to safely remain at home. Four corona patients now in good health.
It’s 30 minutes before Shabbos candle lighting time. An Ezer Mizion staff head calls in. A concentrator is needed asap. A volunteer races to the branch to pick one up, races to the family, sets it up and explains its use as if there was all the time in the world, then resumes his race to shul (synagogue), sliding into his seat only a few minutes later than usual. L’cha dodi…
A patient no longer needs hospitalization. He is so anxious to leave. But even though hospitalization is no longer needed, respiratory assistance is. An oxygen concentrator would be the answer. Is there one available? Yes there is! Thanks to all of you out there who contributed so generously, many patients, under advice and guidance from their physicians, are able to continue their recuperation away from the hospital setting.
A Yeshiva student was moved to a corona hotel. Only after he arrived, did he realize he had left his medications and inhalation machine in the yeshiva dorm. Not to worry. An Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteer was dispatched and the young man was soon reunited with his needs. The volunteer even was able to add a timer so that the machine could be easily set up on Shabbos.
The Director of Ezer Mizion ‘s Medical Equipment Loan Division was picked up twice one Shabbos. Once by car when a doctor had set up a concentrator and received a panicky call from the family that it wasn’t working. He raced over with another one which also “was not working”. It was then that he picked up the director for help. Both machines were fine but the family’s tension had not allowed them to absorb the instructions. When the machine was working smoothly and the family was comfortable in its use, the director walked home only to be shortly afterwards picked up again, this time by ambulance. A patient had run out of oxygen. They raced to supply him with four balloons. When all was well, the director again walked home. For him, it was not a very calm Shabbos but he smiles as he thinks of the two patients who are doing fine now.
Rav Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion, describes how people were petrified. As we all know, hospitals were understaffed and overworked and people did not want to go the hospital. One person who had been in the hospital described it as a cemetery for living people.
Our goal is to help people stay at home – when it is safe for them. Working in tangent with their physicians, we provided oxygen balloons, concentrators, nebulizers with cortisone, IV’s. Rav Chollak describes what is was like at the peak – he received on average 300 calls a day for corona related issues including 4-6 calls or visits during the night. There was no break over Shabbosim either!
Part of his goal when assisting people was to raise their spirits as emotional health is a crucial part of the healing. Rav Chollak gets to know each person personally and provides his remedies accordingly. One man’s family feared for his mental health. Rav Chollak, whose schedule is one of the busiest in the world, called 3-4 times every day to keep his spirits up. He made jokes, sang, whatever would bring a smile to the patient’s face. Every single day until the patient felt better.
Like to be part of things? Join the Ezer Mizion family and help procure more equipment enabling every corona patient to take a deep breath.