Pacemakers Aren’t Disabling, EMT Says

NASHVILLE (CN) – A longtime emergency medical technician and fireman sued Wilson County for refusing to let him return to work with an implanted pacemaker, though his doctor has cleared him for full duty. Steve Fox says the county considers him “disabled,” which is untrue. In the past 5 years, an average of 225,000 Americans a year have had pacemakers implanted.

     Fox says he worked for Wilson County for almost 20 years as a fireman, EMT, hazardous materials technician and captain. He says the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency has kept him on administrative leave for a year, since his pacemaker was implanted.
     Steve Fox was diagnosed with a heart block in 1995 and a pacemaker was implanted in September 2008, when his heart rate showed signs of slowing down. Fox says the surgery was successful and his doctor told the county the pacemaker had “completely corrected” his heart condition, but the country refuses to let him return to work.
     When Fox hired a lawyer, he says the county claimed it was concerned that his return to work would violate National Fire Protection Association standards – standards that Fox claims were never a priority before.
     The agency continues “to regard the Plaintiff as disabled,” but Fox says he is “fully able to resume his previous duties.” He seeks reinstatement, lost wages and damages and costs for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     Fox is represented by Richard Colbert with Colbert & Wilbert of Franklin, Tenn.

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