News and Events

Rambam Radiographer Saves Life of Drowning Man

Publication Date: 8/29/2021 10:30 AM | by: Rambam

A radiographer employed at Rambam Health Care Campus helped perform CPR on a man who suffered a seizure and almost drowned, saving his life.

Walaa Sabbagh at the hospital (L), at the time of the incident (middle inset), and with Nabil's wife, Dalia, during a special ceremony held in her honor after the incident (R). Photography courtesy of Rambam HCC.Walaa Sabbagh at the hospital (L), at the time of the incident (middle inset), and with Nabil's wife, Dalia, during a special ceremony held in her honor after the incident (R). Photography courtesy of Rambam HCC.

Walaa Sabbagh, a radiographer at Rambam Health Care Campus for the past four years, was spending the day with her family at Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) National Park, when she suddenly heard screams coming from several meters away.

Without thinking, Sabbagh jumped up and ran towards the screaming. “Everyone shouted, 'Where are you going?' and I responded that I was going to help,” she shares.

Reaching the area, she saw several people pulling a man out of the water. She quickly noticed that he had turned blue and realized that he most likely did not have a pulse. When the lifeguard began CPR, Sabbagh offered her assistance. The two worked together, and approximately 35 minutes later, the man regained consciousness.

Recalls Sabbagh, “People told me that there was a lot of confusion and applause, but I heard nothing. I just wanted to talk to and reassure his parents and his wife, Dalia.” The family told Sabbagh that the man’s name was Nabil.

“I talked to him, telling him that he had done a good job and that an ambulance was on its way. I told him that he should not go to sleep, and when I asked him to give me a sign to indicate that he had understood me, he blinked,” she said.

Nabil, 43, knew how to swim, and after the ambulance took him, Sabbagh questioned his family. “I asked them if there was anything we needed to know, and they told me that he had suffered a stroke several months earlier,” she notes, adding that she immediately contacted the hospital, where the medical team ascertained that Nabil probably experienced another seizure.

Nabil survived his ordeal, though It is difficult for him to talk. His wife told Sabbagh that he keeps saying her name. “I keep saying that the main thing is that he is still alive, and that I hope he gets better. I’ve lit many candles for Nabil this month,” she confesses. Sabbagh and Nabil are in daily contact.

Sabbagh relates that the values on which she grew up were “humanity” and “helping” – no matter who needs the help or why. “The main thing is that I was able to help,” she explains.