An Israeli military doctor provided emergency treatment for a Palestinian infant in respiratory distress and saved her life after her mother literally ran down the road from her village in desperate need of medical help.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman’s unit, a Palestinian woman ran from her village of Beitin near Ramallah to an IDF checkpoint nearby after her one-month old baby girl began having trouble breathing while playing with her sister.
The panicked mother ran up to the checkpoint while holding the infant, after which an IDF officer called in a military doctor to examine the baby.
Within minutes, Lt. Ben Tzanani and his team arrived at the scene, and “saved the baby’s life,” the IDF spokesman’s unit said in a statement.
“I got a phone call about a baby choking, and so I called up my medical team, and my commander gave me a ride,” Tzanani said. “I asked the family to bring the baby to our ambulance and I started to check her vitals.”
Israel’s Ynet reported that the parents told the officer that their older daughter had accidentally caused the baby to suffocate after leaning over her, though an IDF statement said the baby had choked.
"A doctor gave the baby initial treatment inside a military vehicle. She was apathetic and the doctor stabilized her, and after a few minutes managed to normalize her breathing," an unnamed eyewitness told Ynet.
“In medical issues there is no difference between Palestinians and Jews,” Dr. Tzanani said. “A month-old baby is a human being, and so we are obligated to save her life.”
“There were many incidents when young Palestinians who were hurling rocks or shooting at soldiers received medical care from us. Nevertheless, this was my first incident with a baby,” Tzanani said.
The IDF noted that after she was stabilized, the baby was transported to a hospital in the Palestinian city of Ramallah for monitoring and that the local IDF headquarters “received many phone calls” from local villagers “who expressed their gratitude.”
When the IDF phoned the family in the evening to inquire about her, they reported that the baby's condition was good.
Ynet quoted an unnamed military source who said that Palestinians frequently receive urgent medical care at IDF outposts.
The official said that last week "we treated a 3-year-old boy from Ramallah who suffered a severe head trauma resulting from a fall. We gave him an initial treatment and transferred him to Sheba Medical Center in Israel. On another instance, a Palestinian man arrived to the checkpoint after being seriously cut by a chainsaw in his home – he too was transferred to Israel further medical treatment."
The independent Israeli Tazpit News Agency noted that on April 2, an IDF medical team treated 20 Palestinians wounded in a car accident, while in December three Palestinian women were treated by military doctors after they were injured in a car accident.
"The policy is to give immediate assistance to those arriving to the checkpoint – whether they're Palestinian or Israeli," the military source added.