I-TEAM: Doctor among witnesses who tried to save UF Health Jax CEO after WaveRunner accident

3 months ago 44
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A doc said helium tried to prevention the beingness of the UF Health Jacksonville CEO Dr. Leon Haley Jr. aft a idiosyncratic watercraft mishap implicit the play successful Palm Beach County.

“I don’t deliberation we did thing that helium wouldn’t person done,” said anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph Cody, who was 1 of the witnesses who tried to help.

Haley, 56, died successful the accident, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Lisa Huff, Haley’s sister, told the News4Jax I-TEAM that she is incredibly grateful for the bystanders who rushed to assistance her brother. She has a location successful Riviera Beach and said helium was visiting her implicit the play erstwhile the mishap happened.

Dr. Leon Haley Jr. and family. (Lisa Huff)

Cody said helium was retired boating with friends connected Saturday erstwhile helium noticed the aftermath of the idiosyncratic watercraft mishap astatine the Palm Beach Inlet jetty.


“We saw immoderate radical calling for assistance and we weren’t definite what was going on, truthful I said, ‘Hey, I’m a doctor. Do you request a doctor?’ And they said, ‘Yes, please. Please travel assistance us,’” Cody recalled.

He said 2 fisherman had already jumped into the h2o to assistance the antheral who was thrown from the Yamaha WaveRunner that crashed into the rocks. At the time, they did not cognize that antheral was Haley.

“I saw Dr. Haley retired of power connected his pitchy skis a small bit, mightiness person been a aftermath from a boat,” said Tim Palmer, another witness. “He flew off, and I didn’t spot aft that, and the pitchy skis came rolling up onto the jetty.”

RELATED: I-TEAM: Men accidental they tried to prevention UF Health Jacksonville CEO aft idiosyncratic watercraft accident | I-TEAM: Report details moments before, aft WaveRunner mishap that killed UF Health Jacksonville CEO


Cody said helium rushed implicit to the rocks.

“I said, ‘Is helium breathing? Is helium talking?’ They said, ‘No,’” Cody recounted.

He said the Coast Guard showed up and they helped get Haley connected that boat.

“I said, ‘This man is not breathing. I’m not definite if helium has a pulse. Start CPR,’” Cody said. “I helped the Coast Guard with CPR until the EMS unit came and took over.”

Haley was rushed to a adjacent hospital, wherever helium died.

Haley’s sister said she and her 14-year-old lad were connected a antithetic WaveRunner astatine the clip of the accident. She said the witnesses made definite her lad was OK and risked their ain lives to effort to prevention her brother.

Cody said helium cried erstwhile helium recovered retired Haley was a chap doctor.

“It was similar a doc who would person done the aforesaid happening for me,” helium said. “I tried to assistance him. It’s conscionable crazy.”

Cody said the bequest Haley near down volition ne'er spell unnoticed. Haley is known for his dedication to the combat against COVID-19. Cody said helium tin subordinate to him, arsenic helium works connected the frontlines successful a South Florida hospital. He said Haley is present an inspiration to him.


Haley volition beryllium laid to remainder successful Pittsburgh this weekend. UF Health Jacksonville said it volition clasp a memorial lawsuit astatine the infirmary sometime adjacent week. Haley’s sister told News4Jax that Haley loved Jacksonville and his clip astatine UF Health.

Huff besides said she hopes to personally convey the bystanders who tried to prevention her brother.

At this time, it’s unclear what led to the accident. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this is inactive an active, ongoing investigation.

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