Dr. Mehl, 73, the son of European immigrants who escaped the Holocaust, grew up in Brooklyn and spent his complete 50-year profession at N.Y.U., the place he might usually be discovered within the hallway kibitzing with lab technicians, cafeteria employees or safety guards. Colleagues referred to him because the Mayor of N.Y.U.
He is also unabashedly emotional. “When he dropped me off at summer camp, he’d be the only father crying,” his daughter mentioned.
Dr. Mehl was a voracious reader — historical past books about World War II, Israel and the United States have been his favorites. When he traveled, he’d get up every morning to sort out an exhausting itinerary of museums, monuments and eating places. “He’d be planning the next vacation even before we came home,” mentioned his spouse, Nancy Greenwald.
At a time when many medical doctors are plotting retirement, Dr. Mehl insisted on working full time, although final March, he lastly agreed to take off Fridays. He laid out a meticulous plan for that first Friday: Wake up, learn the newspaper, return to mattress, eat breakfast, after which have a nap. But he awoke that day with again ache, and when it turned excruciating, Ms. Greenwald determined to name an ambulance. (Four of the sufferers he had handled the earlier week, they later realized, had examined constructive for the virus.)
It was solely when the ambulance crew refused to permit her to climb inside that Ms. Greenwald realized her husband is perhaps sick with the coronavirus. Her most searing reminiscence was standing exterior N.Y.U. later that day as an extended line of ambulances, their lights flashing, waited to drop sufferers off on the emergency room. A number of days later, she, too, fell ailing with Covid-19 however shortly recovered.
In one in all his final conversations earlier than being intubated, Dr. Mehl assured his spouse and daughter he’d be awake in 10 days, however not earlier than making a wisecrack concerning the awful meals. He lingered on a ventilator for 50 days, and died on May 20.