Nassau police say they are investigating whether one of the department's ambulance medical technicians contracted a disease on the job that may have led to his death.
Nassau police spokesman Det. Lt. Kevin Smith confirmed that medic Steven Linzer, 45, of Levittown, died Wednesday and the department was so far treating his case as a line-of-duty death.
The medical examiner's office will determine the cause of death.
Nassau County Health Department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain said the department's infectious disease specialists are not investigating Linzer's death.
Linzer's wife, Irene, said he was first admitted Tuesday to St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage and then taken to Winthrop University Medical Center, where he died Wednesday.
"He was a very family-oriented person. He loved kids," said Irene Linzer, adding the couple had three children. "He loved to work in the community. He was the kind of person that people liked because he would do anything for anybody. He was a very caring and a very giving person."
He was involved in youth sports as an official, particularly hockey and also baseball, she said.
In 1997, Linzer was recognized for exemplary service after he helped deliver a baby during a call to a residence in New Hyde Park.
In a Newsday story at the time, Linzer recalled how he arrived on the scene of a maternity case call to find two police officers from the Third Precinct trying to deliver the baby. The officers had already delivered the baby's head.
"When I started checking it out," Linzer said, "I noticed that the baby was very blue, which is not typical for delivery. But not only had the head come out, but one of its arms."
The officers tried for about a minute to have the woman push the baby on her own, but the baby was stuck. Linzer knew from experience that it was unlikely that the mother could deliver the baby. "I decided that the only way I could do this was to insert my hands inside the woman and rotate the baby to a position more favorable for delivery," Linzer said. Once he was able to do this, Linzer successfully delivered the remainder of the right arm, and soon the baby was born.
Linzer joined Nassau in the mid 1990s after spending 10 years working in New York City as a medical technician and paramedic.
Harry Loud, a spokesman for the Wantagh Fire Department, said Linzer worked as a volunteer for the department and was viewed as someone who could fight fires as well as serve as a medical technician.
"He was a well-liked guy," said Loud, a neighbor of Linzer's.
He said Linzer had been with the Wantagh Fire Department for about 10 years, assigned first to an engine and then a ladder.
"He had this very deep voice and an infectious laugh," Loud said. "When it came to his profession, he knew that medical stuff inside and out."