A veteran paramedic was dismissed from her duties today, but she vowed to continue to fight for her job and the community.
Tracy Wilson had been with Multi-Township EMS for 13 years. Today, during a meeting of the MTEMS board of directors, Wilson was terminated for a “violation of the scope of her practice.” It was a shock to Wilson, who was initially told she was suspended last month pending termination for falsifying a document.
MTEMS Board President Roger Schori said the board received a recommendation from MTEMS Medical Director Dr. Tracy Rahall, to terminate Wilson, saying the paramedic would no longer be permitted to work under MTEMS’s medical license. “We’ve gone through the information, we’ve listened to both sides and we have a recommendation from Dr. Rahall,” Schori said.
Without discussion, board member Gary Sponseller made the motion to terminate Wilson. The motion was seconded by Dean Rhoades and unanimously agreed upon.
Wilson’s husband, Michael Wilson, was given permission to briefly address the board and asked why the matter was not taken to an interdepartmental peer review process to be reviewed. Indicating there may have been a personality conflict in play he asked, “Is this something that could have been something that was spiteful between management and Tracy?”
Schori said there were two conversations with the medical director, who is not affiliated with the Lutheran Hospital network that MTEMS serves, and added, “We’re not looking so much at the spite side, we’re really not. We’re looking at whether the patient was in danger and I know that’s open to interpretation and there’s been many different opinions. Dr. Rahal looked at this as a violation of the scope of practice and would not allow Tracy to continue to practice at Multi-Township under her license.”
Michael Wilson again addressed the board saying several emergency services employees have approached the board telling them that the incident that ultimately led to his wife’s termination “is a common practice,” so he asked, “Is there going to be a change in policy due to this? Is every chart going to skip the peer review process?”
Schori admitted the case that cost Wilson her job did not follow the usual process, to which Director of Clinical Management Mark Pepple added, “With that said, anytime a situation is made light that I think the process needs to be changed, that’s a normal practice … No matter who the employee would have been, (Dr. Rahal) would have been contacted.”
A second MTEMS employee involved in the incident that led to today’s vote, a Basic-Advanced EMT, received a brief suspension. Wilson said this is the first time she had been in trouble for her work at MTEMS and insisted the patient was never at risk and was properly treated.
After the board vote she said, ” I understand my dismissal, but for me this isn’t over. I’ll still fight for my job. This is my community. I live here, my family lives here and my job was to take care of my community and I’ll still continue to fight to try to do that. It’s not over for me.”
The board did not explain what the incident was, but Wilson said it involved a patient having an allergic reaction. She, a paramedic, and the ALS technician who was just 5 months from completing his paramedic training, rendered care to the patient and then transported her to KCH. Wilson drove the ambulance and allowed the ALS technician to ride in the back with the patient.
Before adjournment of the meeting, operations director Scott Sigerfoos asked the board to set a date to discuss dealings within the department. “There’s been a lot of question on what’s the board responsible for? What’s Dr. Rahal responsible for? What am I responsible for? What is Mark responsible for? I think everybody’s opinion on that is a little different and has been different to many we’ve talked to,” he explained.
Saying the meeting need to happen “sooner rather than later,” Sigerfoos added, “We need to come together with questions and concerns and work through this and do some definition of roles to rebuild trust between not only administration and the board but employees and the board and all the way around. I think while all of this is still fresh it needs to happen.”
The board agreed to meet on a Saturday in September. The meeting date has not yet been set.