A Southfield teen learned CPR while training in Israel. He later saved an 80-year-old man's life

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What boxes should you tick off your list by age 16? Maybe it’s sky diving or traveling outside the country. 

For Jaden Jubas, it’s saving a life.

Of course, that’s the job of an emergency medical technician, the first to respond to medical emergencies. But Jubas isn’t an EMT yet. He hasn’t even started his junior year of high school.

But thanks to the dutiful training of counselors weeks before and an act-now-question-later mentality, the life-saving skills he learned only recently were successfully put to the test.

That fateful day came in the middle of a month-long volunteer program run by NCSY Summer called “Hatzalah Rescue.” Along with his friend Benjamin Mendelson, Jubas was volunteering with a United Hatzalah ambulance crew in the Israeli city of Bat Yam. The NCSY Summer program focuses on training teens in life-saving procedures and then dropping those teens into the field in ride-alongs with ambulance crews.

While most of Jubas’s assignments revolved around tending to minor lacerations and assisting those coping with the heat of summer, July 16 brought a different experience.

“Theoretically, you hope that something happens...you get experience and learn by helping people,” Jubas said. “But unfortunately someone has to get hurt for that to happen.”

First responders had been working to stabilize an 80-year-old man for almost an hour when Jubas’s ambulance got the call. At the time of the dispatch, the patient was “semi-responsive.” That call would later be upgraded to a “CPR in progress.”

Jubas said when they made it to the apartment, it was an emotional scene. Two EMTs were working on reviving the elderly man as relatives and family members stood by, teary-eyed. That’s when fight-or-flight kicked in.

Jubas said after Magen David Adom, the country's national ambulance service set up equipment, both him and Mendelson got to work. Mendelson was the first to get a weak pulse before it disappeared. After it went away, Jubas performed CPR which got another pulse that would remain for the rest of the incident.

Like a pendulum, the patient’s pulse shifted from active to flat line. While many family members became resigned that they had lost a loved one, both Jubas and Mendelson persisted. And persistence won out.

“We knew we could help him,” Jubas said. “Then we got his pulse back, then we got his breathing back.”

After Jubas and Mendelson cycled through duties, the man’s vitals stabilized. Knowing the elderly man’s chances of surviving would be higher with more compressions, both teens worked until his heart rate had returned. After that, they helped carry the man down the flight of stairs and put him in a Magen David Adom Paramedic ambulance for transportation and further care.

An EMT’s job requires a balance of focusing on the immediate concerns of a patient, while invoking a sense of calm to the family members around them. The chaos of the scene requires mental fortitude. Jubas said there wasn’t much else on his mind at the time besides the task at hand.

“You just have to focus on CPR for the patient, and then on calming the family, because they are freaking out and crying,” Jubas said. “If they are calm, they feel better.”

Both boys received medallions from United Hatzalah that celebrated their first saves as EMRs. 

A junior at Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield, the college-application game is starting for Jubas. Despite his early-bird success, Jubas is considering all facets of the medical field as he pursues a profession in medicine.