For Sergeant Galia Tzuker, a 21-year-old photographer in the IDF’s Medical Corps, photography is only part of her military service. It was a different part of her training – a first course offered by the IDF – that recently allowed her to save her young neighbor’s life.

Last Tuesday (June 11), while at home in Yehud, she heard screaming outside. Running to see what the matter was, she found her neighbor, Itzik Cohen, holding his unconscious 18-month-old daughter, Roni.

Sgt. Tzuker knew she had to act quickly in order to save Roni’s life. “I told [her father] that I am a paramedic and immediately took the child with me,” she recounted.

First Aid Skills in Action: IDF Soldier Saves 18-Month-Old

Sgt. Tzuker with her neighbor Itzik Cohen, holding his 18-month-old daughter, Roni.

Sgt. Tzuker carried Roni to a neighbor’s apartment, where she began working to resuscitate her.

“She was completely blue and a bit yellow. She had stopped breathing and I couldn’t even find a heartbeat. By this point, a few minutes had already passed and I had to work fast to open her airways,” Sgt. Tzuker said.

“I tried with all my strength to open her jaws. Meanwhile, her father was yelling for somebody to save his daughter. I saw I wasn’t succeeding and almost started crying myself.”

Despite her fear, Sgt. Tzuker persevered.

“I told myself I am the most experienced one here and I can’t break down,” she recalled. “I started performing CPR on Roni. I remembered that on children, CPR is done with two fingers and not with the whole hand. The CPR needed to be done over the whole mouth and nose. The breaths must be half-breaths in order to transfer the right amount of air. I did this and suddenly something opened up and was freed.”

As Sgt. Tzuker’s steps worked, Roni’s situation improved.

First Aid Skills in Action: IDF Soldier Saves 18-Month-Old

Sgt. Tzuker with her neighbor Itzik Cohen, holding his 18-month-old daughter, Roni.

“Roni started to breathe and snort. Her color began to change, and suddenly I saw how from the brink of death she returned to life,” Sgt. Tzuker recounted. “I know that had I waited one minute, she wouldn’t be alive.”

Paramedics of Magen David Adom then arrived on the scene and put Roni in an oxygen tank.

“I went to visit Roni a couple of days later and she is completely fine now,” Sgt. Tzuker said.

Roni’s father expressed his appreciation for Sgt. Tzuker’s life-saving first aid. “She saved my daughter,” he stated. “Because of her, I am the happiest father in the world.”

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