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Saturday, February 29, 2020

On Thursday, January 30, Hatzalah Statewide, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Merlin and other physicians of MD1, and Madison Programs, hosted an event for all New York and New Jersey Hatzalah members at the Best Western Robert Treat Hotel in Newark. The event addressed the latest updates in pre-hospital emergency medicine, as well as EMS literature, pediatric care and hemorrhagic shock. Each presentation was given by a respected physician in his particular field.

Dr. Merlin, the CEO at MD1, trains doctors in pre-hospital medicine, and spoke about the newest changes in emergency medicine. The critical nature of this seminar was reflected by Dr. Merlin’s cautionary words, “By the time the ‘changes’ in emergency medicine get to the textbooks, the information is already 10 years behind.” In fact, one of the studies presented at the event dealt with coronavirus, and had been published that
very day.

This was the first-ever Hatzalah Statewide event, and a testament to the growing influence and outreach of the organization. Hatzalah Statewide, which expands the reach of all local Hatzalah groups, was organized and founded by Dr. Nosson Zemel. Dr. Zemel was also the founder of Hatzalah of Essex County almost three years ago. Hatzalah Statewide currently has over 250 members from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Hatzalah Statewide was “a dream of mine,” commented Dr. Zemel. There are currently seven local Hatzalahs in New Jersey, but he recognized that people often travel beyond Hatzalah’s coverage areas. Creating a statewide Hatzalah helps to address medical emergencies occurring in areas without local coverage.

“Our goal is to help klal Yisrael whenever and wherever they may be in distress,” Dr. Zemel said.

Hatzalah Statewide volunteers, all of whom are members of other Hatzalah chapters, agree to be on call not only while they are in their respective communities, but as they travel throughout the region as well.

Simcha Shain, Lakewood Hatzalah paramedic director, and founder and CEO of Paraflight, explained that it was a priority to create personal connections among Hatzalah volunteers. Dr. Zemel decided to establish a medical lecture series on pre-hospital emergency medicine that would have the added benefit of integrating the membership.

Dr. Zemel’s goal was to make these lectures an annual event, with the members gathering together for learning and camaraderie, with the bonus of receiving continuing education credits. In extending hakarat hatov to all the volunteers, Dr. Zemel graciously subsidized the seminar as well as the dinner.

In addition to the lectures, this event gave recognition to Dr. Merlin, chair of the NJ EMS Council, acknowledging his expertise and ongoing support to Hatzalah Statewide, and to Dr. Zemel, who was surprised with a presentation as well. Additionally, Rabbi Herschel Weber, shlita, Hatzalah founder, was in attendance to offer divrei chizuk and brachot. He was moved to tears as he reminisced about founding Hatzalah over 50 years ago with just three volunteers.

The organizers paid special tribute to Moishe Spilman, z”l, who passed away in 2018. Spilman was a “driving force” behind the development of Hatzalah Statewide. A presentation was made to honor his memory, with his family in attendance.

Hatzalah Statewide is looking to expand its ranks to make the network more effective. For more information about joining Hatzalah Statewide, email [email protected] The hotline number, to be used only if you are outside an established Hatzalah neighborhood, is 201-613-1111.

By Jill Kirsch