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Israel to Convert Public Phone Booths into Defibrillator Stations

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Sep 2020
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Image: An MDA AED station converted from a public phone booth (Photo courtesy of Bezeq)
Image: An MDA AED station converted from a public phone booth (Photo courtesy of Bezeq)
Israeli telecom company Bezeq (Tel Aviv, Israel) and the national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance, and blood bank Magen Davis Adom (MDA; Tel Aviv, Israel) have announced a widescale plan to convert thousands of unused phone booths into easy-to-access, weather protected automated external defibrillator (AED) stations. The initiative still requires final regulatory approval.

In the pilot program, a dozen unused telephone booths were converted into mini-medical outlets and painted a bright yellow, with operational instructions printed in red lettering (the colors of MDA ambulances) in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Amharic, and Russian. The instructions are accompanied by visual explanations in order to keep the process simple. In the event of a heart attack, a bystander calls emergency services and is directed to the nearest AED yellow booth, as an ambulance is dispatched.

The sturdy booth, which is kept locked, can only be opened with a numeric code provided by the MDA dispatcher. The defibrillator station is also equipped with temperature-controlling sensors to keep the medical device from overheating in the Israeli summers, and also has a self- check schedule to identify malfunctions. If a problem is detected, it connects to the cellular network via a SIM card and sends an alert to MDA control requesting a technician.

“Any citizen can easily operate The Magen David Adom defibrillator without prior medical knowledge. The device provides an electric current as needed, dictates the rate of resuscitation, and provides clear voice and visual operating instructions, in Hebrew and in other languages,” said Rafael Strugo, MD, deputy director general of MDA. “The device connects to the MDA Emergency Dispatch Center, and the citizen receives additional instructions from medics and paramedics at 101 Dispatch Center. At the same time, MDA teams receive details of the patient, and are on their way to the scene of the incident.”

“Public telephones have been a part of us, but naturally with the advancement of technology they have become redundant, and we are happy they will be renewed,” said Bezeq in a press statement. “This move is also important in raising awareness as well as access to defibrillators and saving lives.”

An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. AEDs are designed to be simple to use for the layperson, using simple audio and visual commands. The use of AEDs is taught in many first aid, certified first responder, and cardiopulmonary.

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Magen Davis Adom

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