Dr. Mehl, 73, the son of European immigrants who survived the Holocaust, grew up in Brooklyn and spent his entire 50-year career at NYU, where he can often be found in hallway kibbing with lab technicians, cafeteria workers, or security guards. Was. . Colleagues refer to him as the mayor of NYU
He can also be emotionless. “When he left me at the summer camp, that single father was crying,” his daughter said.
Dr. Mehl was an avid reader – history books about World War II, Israel, and the United States were his favorites. When he traveled, he would wake up every morning and deal with the tiring journey of museums, monuments and restaurants. “We were planning the next vacation before we got home,” said his wife Nancy Greenwald.
At a time when many doctors are plotting retirement, Drs. Mehl insisted on working full time, although last March, he finally agreed to take on Friday. He made a careful plan for that first Friday: wake up, read the newspaper, return to bed, have breakfast and then take a nap. But he woke up that day with back pain, and when it became excruciating, Ms. Greenwald decided to call an ambulance. (The four patients he had treated last week, he later learned, tested positive for the virus.)
It was only when the ambulance crew refused to allow her inside that Ms. Greenwald realized that her husband might be ill with coronaires. Her most cherished memory was standing outside NYU later that day, as a long line of ambulances, their lights shone, waiting for patients to leave in the emergency room. A few days later, she too fell ill with Kovid-19, but recovered soon.
In his last conversation before being intubat, Drs. Mehl reassures his wife and daughter that she will wake up in 10 days, but not before showing prudence about substandard food. He remained on ventilator for 50 days, and died on 20 May.