History under fire: Maj. Or, an officer from the Givati Brigade, survived a life-threatening injury in Gaza by being one of the first patients in the world to receive a fresh blood dose on the battlefield.
Maj. Or completed his position as a deputy battalion commander in the Givati Brigade in the summer and was about to be begin his next appointment as a division commander at the brigade's training base. After the war broke out, he demanded a significant role and served as an APC commander under the Givati Brigade commander. At the beginning of the incursion in Gaza, he was mortally wounded in an incident that almost ended his life.
"It was 4 a.m., on the outskirts of Jabaliya," the officer recalls. "I wanted to secure the area because terrorists used to attach IED's to our vehicles, so half of my body was outside the turret. Suddenly I saw a tremendous flash of fire followed by a loud explosion in front of me."
The explosion turned out to be an anti-tank missile launched at the APC which was intercepted by the Trophy system. However, the launching of the intercepting missile and interception itself seriously wounded the officer. "Most shrapnel entered through the stomach, the chest and the underarm," he recalls. "I felt heat, not pain, and immediately fell back to the soldiers' compartment. An officer held my hand while the others stripped me."
Maj. Or was tied to a stretcher and transferred to the evacuation center, but in the meantime he lost large amounts of blood and became dramatically weak. This is because no fewer than 60 pieces of shrapnel pierced his upper body and ruptured his arteries.
"The paramedic who received me in the field pressed on my central artery and then her friends added two more pressure points, also in the neck, to stop the bleeding," he said. "She gave me a morphine candy to relieve the pain and above all began a blood transfusion. The sun was already up when I was on the helicopter with the search and rescue unit on the way to Sheba Hospital, where I was put to sleep for three days."
The doctors took out 10 fragments, I will have to live with the majority.
The tests revealed that the dozens of shrapnel pieces tore through his spleen, which was surgically removed, punctured his fluid-filled lung and damaged internal organs, including near the heart. Miraculously, it did not cause fatal damage.
"I realized after I woke up that real blood doses saved my life. I came out relatively well thanks to the treatment in the field. The doctors took out 10 fragments, I will have to live with the majority. I believe that I will still return to Givati, in uniform," the soldier said.
Maj. Dr. Stas, a battalion medical officer from the 460th Armored Brigade, who gave the dose of blood to Maj. Or, explained why he decided to do so. "Blood loss from an injury in battle is a major cause of death. We improved the treatment and did not settle for a dried plasma transfusion. We are the first army in the world to do this in the battlefield. I saw with my own eyes how the officer came back to life, how his condition improved," he said.