Hotel worker performs CPR for 11 minutes, saving guest’s life after heart attack

Doctors tell wife that compressions may have prevented him from being paralyzed, brain dead

It’s a life-saving example of “getting results” when a guest had a massive heart attack and an Orlando hotel worker jumped into action performing CPR for 11 minutes.

Fatima Barakat and her husband William have been together for nearly 40 years, and their love so evident today.

“He is the love of my life, we have six children together and two grandchildren,” said Fatima. “We were celebrating 40 years of meeting each other that night. He’s my soulmate.”

The couple was winding down their vacation with family and decided to spend the final night with just the two of them. What was supposed to be a romantic evening Monday for Fatima and William Barakat at Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacation Club resort in Orlando, turned into a nightmare.

“I turned around and all of a sudden I noticed his head started to tilt to the right and he put out his arms and his legs and just dropped to the bed,” said Fatima.

William went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. Fatima rushed to call 911, but didn’t know the address for the hotel, so she used the room phone to called the lobby. Loss Prevention Director Ivan Melians was about to end his shift when he heard what was going on and hurried to the room.

“He was selfless. He took off his mask, picked him up off the bed, put him on the floor and performed CPR and saved his life without even thinking about his own life,” said Fatima.

For 11 minutes in the hotel room, Melians performed chest compressions while William struggled to catch a breathe.

“I had to give him a chance, I had to try my best. I’ve been trained for CPR and have to keep going until EMS arrives. You can’t give up on a person,” said Melians.

“He died right in front of me… he was dead, he was gone. I was devastated,” said Fatima.

William Barakaat after his surgery
William Barakaat after his surgery (WKMG 2020)

EMS eventually arrived and William was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Fatima said doctors found five clogged arteries and had to perform emergency coronary artery bypass surgery. She was able to see him the next day.

“He was out, but I know he recognized me. I spoke to him and then he opened his eyes for me,” said Fatima.

Doctors told Fatima that her husband should have been paralyzed from loss of oxygen.

“The doctor said ‘Mrs. Barakat, those 11 minutes of compression is why he’s still here’,” said Fatima.

Fatima credits Melians for his quick action and persistence in saving her husband’s life. She calls him a hero.

“For him to be selfless and put himself out there for others, that’s the definition – for me – of a hero. Absolutely Ivan is a hero. Ivan was my hero and I will never forget him,” said Fatima.

“I don’t’ consider myself a hero … just consider myself a human able to help another human,” said Ivan.

The Barakat family is hopeful for William’s recovery and said he is starting to speak and breath on his own. Las Palmeras is extending the family’s stay while William is in the hospital.


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