A Long Island man injured in a life-threatening crash in the Great South Bay this summer is alive and well, thanks in part to the heroic efforts of a NYU Winthrop nurse.
On July 20, 2014, Gail Melamed, RN, a Flow Coordinator in NYU Winthrop's Emergency Department, and her family were relaxing on a boat in the Lindenhurst channel of the bay when they heard a "May Day" call over the radio, signaling that a jet skier had collided with a boat in the area. They looked up, and observed a man 300 yards away face down in the water.
NYU Winthrop nurse Gail Melamed and her family aided in the rescue of a Long Island man in the Great South Bay. A photo taken by a family member shows the US Coast Guard about to pull away with the victim on board.
Ms. Melamed's husband, Joel, and their son, Andrew, who are both Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and volunteer firefighters for the Albertson Herricks Fire Department, swam to the boat, where other boaters were attempting to place the unconscious victim on the swim platform on the back of a boat. They assisted in securing him there and determined that the victim was not only suffering from head trauma and multiple lacerations, but was not breathing, nor did he have a pulse.
Ms. Melamed, who is "not a very good swimmer," donned her life jacket and jumped in the water to help. However, due to the narrowness of the platform where the victim lay, she was unable to get on the boat. Only feet from the boat's propeller, she started shouting instructions from the water, supporting the family's efforts to perform CPR.
"I made sure they were doing the compressions correctly and at the right depth, while counting," said Ms. Melamed.
They did this for about 15 minutes, recalled Ms. Melamed, who helped guide the efforts to save the man's life. The victim regained his heart rhythm and started taking shallow breaths.
Gail Melamed, RN (center), a Flow Coordinator in NYU Winthrop's Emergency Department, and her family (son Andrew, left, and husband Joel, right) helped save the life of a man injured in a boating accident.
Shortly thereafter, a United States Coast Guard vessel arrived on the scene, and the family continued to conduct CPR as the boat raced back to shore.
"NYU Winthrop instills dedication in everybody to be a team player, and the desire to help everyone you possibly can," said Ms. Melamed.
The man was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. He has since made a full recovery, according to Ms. Melamed, who had the opportunity to visit him at the hospital.
Mr. Melamed is incredibly proud of his wife. "I wanted the community to be aware of the strong dedication to saving lives that NYU Winthrop employees show every day both on and off-duty," he said.
"No matter where I am, no matter what I do, I am representing NYU Winthrop and helping others is just what we do," said Ms. Melamed.