Magen David Adom in Israel (MDA), the largest ambulance service in the country, has assisted over 200 pregnant women over the past 48 hours, as the worst of the most severe winter storm in decades hit and abated.
MDA said 186 of the women were from the Jerusalem area and a dozen more from Safed. Many of the mothers to be were taken to hospitals.
Medics recounted an exceptional situation that occurred overnight Friday-Saturday in the Gush Etzion area, in which two women went into labor. Efforts to get them to safety took several hours.
“Around 4:00am, we responded to a call by a woman from Beitar Ilit. We contacted the local authorities to tell them to clear the way for us, because we knew the roads were blocked,” said Imad Salman, one of the medics.
“We reached her successfully and she was put in the ambulance. At that point, we got another call from a 25-year-old woman in labor in her home [in Beitar Ilit]. Right away, the nearest on-call doctor was contacted and he made his way on foot, in the snow, to the woman and delivered the baby,” he recounted.
At that point, the medics reached the second woman and placed her and her newborn into the ambulance, where they joined the first woman who was still in labor.
“The way out was very difficult, we got stuck in the snow. In the end, after many tries, we had to transfer the women into a 4×4 ambulance to get them to the hospital,” said Salman.
In Safed in northern Israel, medics faced a similar situation involving a 25-year-old woman in labor.
“[After getting the call] we reached her home within minutes,” said Gadi Suliman, a volunteer medic and ambulance driver. “When I arrived, I saw that the baby girl was already born. I cut the umbilical cord, wrapped the baby and the mother in blankets and took them — in very difficult weather and road conditions — to Ziv Hospital in Safed.”
On Saturday afternoon, an IAF aircraft evacuated an Israeli woman in labor from the settlement of Yitzhar, in the West Bank, to a hospital where she gave birth safely.