The Fire Department has fired fire captain and paramedic Tom Mackey again, and Mackey once again is appealing his dismissal to the city’s Civil Service Commission, city officials and Mackey’s attorney said Friday.
The commission heard Mackey’s appeal of his July 2 firing in a 12-hour hearing last month, then referred the matter back to the Fire Department and instructed it to provide Mackey with a due process hearing.
Otherwise, the three-member commission did not comment on the evidence submitted at the appeal hearing from the Fire Department and the city attorney on one side and from Mackey and his attorney, Bill Roemerman of Cedar Rapids, on the other side.
The department now has held a new due process hearing and, on Thursday, fired Mackey again, said his attorney, Bill Roemerman of Cedar Rapids. Roemerman filed a new appeal with the commission, he said.
At the heart of Mackey’s firing is a June 15 emergency medical call that sent him and his fire crew to the Mercy Care North medical clinic in northeast Cedar Rapids. In a patient room there, they found a hysterical, hyperventilating woman about to throw up who told them she suffered from severe migraine headaches.
In the 21-minute encounter, Mackey, 55, a certified paramedic specialist, dispensed Valium to the woman to calm her and morphine for her pain. The woman was transported by Area Ambulance Service to a hospital emergency room where she was treated and released without problems.
A subsequent review by the Fire Department called into question Mackey’s decision to dispense both Valium and morphine, his failure to use monitoring equipment as the drugs were administered and the lack of thoroughness in his written report.
Ultimately, the department’s part-time medical director, emergency room physician Dr. Brad Wisnousky, said he would no longer allow Mackey to work under him.
Mackey, who also works as part-time director of Tipton’s ambulance service, argued at last month’s hearing that he followed the state of Iowa’s new emergency treatment protocols, which he uses in Tipton, in deciding to use Valium and morphine to first treat the patient’s hysteria and then her pain.
Mackey worked at the Cedar Rapids Fire Department for 28 years.
In the hearing last month in front of the Civil Service Commission, Fire Department commanders testified that they had offered to let Mackey retire rather than to be fired, but Mackey said he wasn’t ready to retire.