EMT dies mysteriously in Nassau County

March 22, 2011 3:22:02 PM PDT
A 45-year-old EMT in Nassau County died from a mysterious bacterial infection that he may have caught on the job.

"It's tough, but we're hanging in there," said Danny Linzer, the victim's son.

20-year-old Danny Linzer is still waiting to wake up from a nightmare.

One minute his father complained of leg pain, not 24 hours later, he was dead.

"My dad was awesome, just awesome. He touched a lot of people, saved a lot of lives, he took a lot of pride in what he did," Danny Linzer said.

45-year-old Steve Linzer, a husband and father of three, spent his career as an advanced medical technician with the Nassau County Police, routinely risking his own life to help others.

Police say it might have been one of his patients who unwittingly infected him with aggressive bacteria, a likely staph infection, which ravaged his body.

It happened too quickly for doctors to stop it.

"His body was under siege from this infection and unfortunately it cost him his life," said Detective Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department.

Doctors say deadly drug resistant bacteria live everywhere, they're invisible, and can easily slip into an open cut.

Because of that, police say they don't know for sure if Linzer was infected on the job, right now they're looking at his patients' medical records to find out.

"We're looking at a case maybe from Friday to see if there was any way maybe he could have contracted the infection from that patient," Smith said.

If he did get sick on the job, it could increase the death benefits his family receives.

But, it doesn't affect the devastation in a department that's now lost three members in just a month and a half.

Back in his Levittown neighborhood, friends and family are stunned.

Harry Loud volunteered with Linzer on the Wantagh Fire Department.

"45-years-old and he's gone. Where's the justice in something like this?" Loud said.

"We're hanging in there, we love him, we still love him very much and we know he's watching over us," Danny Linzer said.

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