An arbitrator has issued a judgement of reinstatement on the grievance regarding the termination of Pittsburgh Paramedic Josie Dimon.
Dimon was the acting crew chief of Medic Unit 8, the second unit to respond to the residence of Curtis Mitchell during the February 6-7 2010 snowstorm. Mitchell had called 911 more than 10 times over the course of 30 plus hours for abdominal pain, but no ambulance was able to reach his residence due to unplowed streets and downed power lines. He passed away of natural causes before an ambulance could reach him.
Interestingly enough, in the arbitrator’s judgement he makes mention of the fact that Public Safety Director Michael Huss had come under fire from the media for being out of town and
What distresses me most about the situation is the apparent lack of action on behalf of his paramedic from Chief Robert J. McCaughan of Pittsburgh EMS. The arbitrator’s opinion includes a letter from the chief outlining how he felt Dimon had violated policy and rules. This includes a failure to “taking necessary action”, inappropriate comments over a radio frequency, unbecoming conduct, and “members to render respect”.
The written response from Dimon appears next in the opinion highlighting the fact that she was working a double shift, was experiencing issues with tire chains, and was constantly stuck in the snow. The chief apparently did not take those circumstances into account, nor did he take into account her previous service record which seems devoid of disciplinary action but inclusive of commendations and awards for exemplary service. For that matter, according to the report, he never actually interviewed her about the events of that night. Now I don’t know about you, but where I come from that is definitely not “rendering respect” for a provider under your command.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit surprised by the lack of interest Chief McCaughan seemed to show for one of his paramedics. I have always considered Public Safety Director Michael Huss as the dark force behind the sacrifice, but apparently he has accomplices.
Perhaps had Chief McCaughan not gone along with it he would have ended up like Chief Peruggia.
I guess we’ll never know what might have happened, only what did happen.
Of course, the city is going to be appealing the decision.