NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He was stranded in Ida’s floodwaters while he was on his way to perform lifesaving surgery.
Luckily, that Staten Island doctor did make it to the hospital in time, and on Tuesday he was reunited with his grateful patient, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.
Retired NYPD Sgt. Angel Rosa is tough as nails. But just as dogged are the doctors at Staten Island University Hospital, who reunited with the 55-year-old and his wife after saving him from a heart attack during a deadly storm.
“That night was the worst night of my life. When they told me the doctor wasn’t there yet, I kind of like flipped,” Minerva Rosa said.
Dr. Frank Tamburrino was trying desperately to get to the ER as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pummeled Staten Island earlier this month. Fast-rising floodwaters stalled his engine, totaled his car, and left him stranded.
He said his mind started racing for a solution.
“The entire time was, we have to get there. We have to get this vessel open. Because every moment that passes is the potential for him to lose heart muscle that he may never get back,” Tamburrino said.
Fortunately, another cardiologist, Dr. Wassim Hoyek, lived nearby and drove out to rescue Dr. Tamburrino. The two then navigated through the torrential rains together to reach the patient.
“I remember distinctly running up, soaking wet. I was wet all the way up to my waist and as I came out of the elevator I saw your wife sitting there and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Doctor, are you okay?’ I said, ‘I’m fine. I’m going to take care of your husband,'” Tamburrino said.
In the end, the surgery started 30 minutes later than scheduled, but it was successful.
“I feel great. Grateful for life, grateful for my family, grateful for you, doc,” Angel Rosa said.
He was grateful to the doctor who stopped at nothing to his life and allow him to return home to his 5-year-old granddaughter.