Nassau County police are investigating whether an advanced medical technician who died of a bacterial infection contracted that illness while at work.
Steven Linzer, 45, died suddenly last week at Mineola's Winthrop Medical center. He had been hospitalized just a day before, with what his family called a "bacterial infection." He left behind a wife and three kids, including his oldest son, Daniel.
"He was very dedicated to his job," Daniel Linzer said outside the family's Levittown home. "He was always running around and took a lot of pride in the work he did."
Nassau police are now investigating whether Linzer contracted the illness that killed him while working as an Advanced Medical Technician, or AMT.
"He was constantly surrounded by sick people," Dan Linzer said. "I definitely believe it was from work."
The cases Steve Linzer handled in his final days are under police review, according to department spokesman, Detective Lt. Kevin Smith. Police and the county medical examiner are searching for any possible links to Linzer's death.
"We've come to no conclusions yet," said Smith. "But we do know from the county department of health that what he suffered from was not in any way contagious."
In the days before his death, Linzer did transport a retired police officer to a local hospital, according to a county source, and that officer was suffering from the virulent staph infection known as MRSA.
Police and county health officials would not confirm that, saying there's no indication yet that Linzer died from MRSA.
"We are not involved in this investigation," said a spokesperson for Nassau county's health department.
However, a number of Linzer's co-workers have undergone check-ups and, in some cases, blood tests, Smith added. But so far, no related illnesses have been discovered.
"There's no panic out there," said Jerry Laricchiuta, the CSEA union president who represents the county medical technicians. "It's just an on the job illness these folks must face."
Two Nassau police officers have died in the line of duty this year. The latest, officer Geoffrey Breitkopf was killed just over a week ago. While Linzer is considered a civilian member of the police department, his family wants his death to be recognized in much the same way.
"He saved a lot of lives and touched a lot of people," said Dan Linzer, as he held a photo of his dad.
"He was a hero."