2015-08-21 / Front Page

Drowning Death Raises Questions

By Mark C. Healey


Could Ezekiel Gray been saved if he were taken to the hospital by the NYPD’s Medivac helicopter. Could Ezekiel Gray been saved if he were taken to the hospital by the NYPD’s Medivac helicopter. Could five year old Ezekiel Gray have been saved? That’s a question many are asking following the boy’s drowning death on Aug. 15.

According to reports, Ezekiel had been swimming with his older brother and sister when he got caught in the powerful current at Riis Park just after 5 p.m.

An off-duty lifeguard spotted the boy’s body drifting in the water, and pulled him out. According to police, Ezekiel was unresponsive when he was pulled out of the water.

Emergency responders performed CPR on the beach – and a decision was made at the scene to transport him by ambulance to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 6:30 p.m.

Belle Harbor resident Palmer Doyle, a retired FDNY firefighter, wants to know why the child was driven in an ambulance to a hospital that was more than 30 minutes away.

“Why though was he not transported by a Medivac helicopter?” Doyle said. “This boy was taken by EMS bus to Brookdale hospital in Brooklyn which took a hell of a lot longer than by helicopter.”

Doyle believes that high level interagency disagreements between the FDNY and NYPD over victim transport is at the core of the problem. That, he says, is a disgrace.

“I applaud all first responders and there is nobody better than ours,” he said. “But you cannot tie their hands when we have trained Aviation medivacs right across the water. Please, all elected officials, this is on you to get a plan in order now. The hell with turf battles!”

The Wave was unable to confirm the impetus for the decision to transport via ambulance rather than by air. A city official did indicate first responders on the scene reported all efforts to revive the child were fruitless and he had no pulse when the ambulance arrived. The Wave was unable to confirm this report as well.

Regardless, Doyle said, the situation highlights a problem that has to be dealt with.

“I am urging all of our politicians to get on board and realize if we are not flying off the peninsula, our chances of survival during a serious medical event, we are not going to make it.”

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