ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida man met the Orlando hotel worker who saved his life nearly two weeks ago after he went into cardiac arrest.
William Barakat and his wife, Fatima, were staying at the Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacation Club resort in Orlando Labor Day weekend. The couple was celebrating 40 years of being together.
On Labor Day evening, William Barakat went into cardiac arrest inside his hotel room. His wife called 911 as hotel employees rushed in to help them.
Loss Prevention Director Ivan Melians performed chest compressions for 11 minutes.
“You were a hero that night, you really are. What you did is not what a normal human being would have done,” Fatima Barakat said. “You were a superhero that night, our superhero.”
EMS took William Barakat to the hospital. Fatima Barakat said doctors found five clogged arteries and they performed coronary artery bypass surgery.
She said doctors told her William Barakat should have been paralyzed from the loss of oxygen, but she said he’s alive and walking because of Melians and other hotel employees’ quick actions.
“I thank everybody who made every second count, for everything to be exactly where it needed to be for William to be here,” she said.
William Barakat and Melians met for the first time since the incident Sunday morning. Even in the age of social distancing, they couldn’t stay apart and gave each other a big hug.
“It’s really nice to see that you’re doing well,” Melians said.
William Barakat spent almost two weeks recovering in the hospital. He said he doesn’t remember what happened that night, but he knows he wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for Melians.
“I thank God for sending me an angel. You saved my life. You were sent by God,” William Barakat said.
Melians said he did what he had to do.
“This is one of those things that you don’t think about your own, you don’t think about what’s around you. You just have to do it cause how can I live my life knowing that I could have saved you and I didn’t do it or I didn’t do enough or I didn’t give my 100%? It wasn’t an option,” Melians said.
The Barakat family said they are forever grateful to Melians and hotel staff for taking care of them, not as guests but as family.
“For the rest of my life I won’t forget you,” William Barakat said.
The Barakat family returned to their home in South Florida. Las Palmeras extended their stay while William Barakat was in the hospital.
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