“I wasn’t going to let him die”: Dental Heroes Spring to Action

(l-r) Michael Haddad, Dr. Joseph Calabrese, and Dmitry Merzon DMD 14
(l-r) Michael Haddad, Dr. Joseph Calabrese, and Dmitry Merzon DMD 14

When Dental Technologist Michael Haddad and Dmitry Merzon DMD 14 saw a Boston Medical Center employee having a heart attack, they helped without hesitation.

On March 19, 2013, Merzon, an emergency medical technician (EMT) and former Israeli military medic, helped a public safety officer find an automated external defibrillator (AED) and ran to the scene with him.

When asked what motivated him to react so quickly and selflessly, Merzon said: “Your training kicks in and you pretty much don’t think. The security guard was looking for an AED, so it sounded serious. I wasn’t going to let someone die just because I had other things to do.”

Haddad was already at the scene.

“I just happened to be there when the gentleman collapsed,” he said. “As the saying goes: right place, right time.”

He continued: I went immediately over to the gentleman to see if I could help. I took off my lab coat to make him comfortable, but he was unconscious and turning blue.

Merzon said: “The patient’s face was pale gray and his pupils were dilated. This told me that he wasn’t getting oxygen to his brain.”

He inserted an oropharyngeal airway, a medical device commonly known as an OPA that keeps a person’s airway open. He started rescue breathing while other EMTs did chest compressions.

“I’m not sure how long we were doing CPR but at some point the patient started breathing on his own,” Merzon said. “That’s when Boston Emergency Medical Services arrived and transported the patient to the Emergency Department.”

“Being honest,” Haddad said, “why I did this is just who I am and most people would do the same. When you do a good deed, you do it because you should and you should never expect anything in return.”

Haddad and Merzon were recognized with Citizen Commendation Awards at this year’s Public Safety Awards, held on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

“I’m not surprised by their actions or humility,” said GSDM Assistant Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Calabrese, who nominated Haddad and Merzon for the awards. “They’re two great guys who just did what they should, but I am sure that the individual they saved that day felt like it was a bit more.” Calabrese represented our School at the ceremony along with Director of Facilities & Operations Andy Burke.

Haddad and Merzon never met the man they helped save. “To be honest if I saw him the next day I wouldn’t recognize him,” Merzon said. “I was so focused on the CPR that I didn’t take a moment to see what he looked like.” However, they did learn that the patient survived and was released from the hospital after several days.

The Citizen Commendation is “presented to any person who is not a member of the Department of Public Safety, but who has materially aided the department or its officers in some way. This includes assistance in the solutions of crime or apprehension of criminals, aiding an officer in the field of a critical incident, and cooperation with or assistance to the department as a whole in any aspect of the department’s administration or operations,” according to the departments website.

Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter said, “The entire Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine community is very proud Michael and Dmitry. We applaud their courage and dexterity.”

Do you know a hero on campus? Nominate someone for a Public Safety Award online.

Photos from the ceremony are on Facebook and Flickr.