The man was blue and not breathing.
He had just taken a face plant onto the parking lot asphalt at the Whidden Hospital in Everett, and Revere’s Karam Hamadeh – a security worker at the facility – was the first and only person on the scene.
It was an intense situation and the man’s life was on the line. Hamadeh watched as the man’s life seemed to be leaving him, and he quickly jumped into action – eventually helping to save the man and get him medical attention across the street at the Whidden.
“I was making the normal rounds and I got a call for a man down in the parking lot of the hospital,” Hamadeh, 23, said. “The man had come to the hospital to see someone. I was the first on the scene and I saw he had busted his face very badly. He was turning blue and couldn’t breathe. I turned him around and put him in recovery position and I was able to clear his airway – which turned out to be very helpful because when the ambulance got there, he was able to breath again.
“They said he might have had a stroke or a heart attack,” continued Hamadeh. “I was freaked out of my head by all this because I had never had that close of an interaction with someone turning blue and who couldn’t breathe.”
The incident happened last August, but two weeks ago Hamadeh was honored in Toronto for his brave actions. Hamadeh traveled to Toronto for a ceremony on May 24th in which he was awarded the Medal of Distinction by the International Healthcare Security and Safety Organization (IHSSF).
The man who Hamadeh assisted in saving was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the Whidden and spent one week there.
“There are a lot of laws that prevent us from knowing what happened medically to that man, but I was told he did make a recovery,” said Hamadeh.
The Revere High School graduate just finished his bachelor’s degree at Salem State University in January and interned with the Everett Police Department.
In a perfect world, he said he would like to pursue criminal justice, but it’s hard to do these days.
“I would definitely like to be in law enforcement, but it’s kind of hard with all the veterans coming back, so I’m probably going to stay in the private security industry. I hope to stay in healthcare security. It’s very exciting working in the hospital. In fact, I wouldn’t have known anything about recovery position or how to clear an airway if I hadn’t been working in a hospital and hadn’t asked doctors and nurses questions about what they were doing.”
Since joining the hospital community in 2009, Hamadeh has been chosen to co-instruct a pilot program at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) titled ‘Training in the Care of the Aggressive Patient Safety,’ and he also participates in ‘Trauma Informed Care’ trainings designed to educate officers on how restraints and seclusion can greatly affect the experience and care of patients.
Hamadeh lives on High Street in Revere with his mother, Seham Salloum.
“This was the craziest day of my life and I’m just glad I could help,” he said.