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Pittsburgh paramedic fired after snowstorm ordered reinstated with back pay. Arbitrator says Josie Dimon is a 'scapegoat' following the death of Curtis Mitchell.

Previous coverage here and here

A Pittsburgh paramedic fired after a snowstorm a year ago has been ordered reinstated by an arbitrator. Josie Dimon has been awarded 11 months of back pay, with the only punishment a three day suspension.

According to KDKA-TV’s Marty Griffin, the arbitrator finds the city was making Dimon a scapegoat and puts the blame for the poor response on the city’s public safety director.

This was the case of 50-year-old Curtis Mitchell of Hazelwood. His girlfriend called 911 10 times over 30 hours. By the time help arrived Mitchell was dead.

Here’s more in excerpts from KDKA-TV’s article:

In a recording, Dimon talks to another employee about an attempt to get to Curtis Mitchell’s home.

Dimon: “If he ain’t (expletive) coming down, I ain’t waiting all day for him, Kim. What the (expletive). This ain’t no cab service.”

The report will not be made public, but sources tell KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin it calls Dimon a “scape goat.”

The report also blames the incident and lack of response on the city and Public Safety Director Michael Huss.

“If they wish to blame me, that’s okay,” Huss said. “I got broad shoulders.”

The arbitrator also described Hazelwood as a scary neighborhood. That offended Huss.

“I travel through Hazelwood every day,” he said. “I think it’s a nice neighborhood. The people there have always treated myself and the other emergency responders that responded to those communities very well.”

Sources say the report calls the incident the “fiasco of 2010.” Sources say the report said Mitchell could have come towards the ambulance.

Sources also say the report says: “Josie Dimon’s livelihood can’t be wrangled away from her by dangling innuendo.”

Comments - Add Yours

  • Sheryl Mays

    As a new EMT in Western NY in mid winter, I understand conditions are not always favorable. I agree with Dimon, we ain’t no taxi cab… that means WE GO TO THE PATIENT. We do not sit on the street and expect a sick or injured patient to come to us regardless of conditions. If she does not want to perform the job of a first responder, then she needs to find a new one.

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  • Molly

    Ultimately, she (and her partner) should have slogged through the snow just like the rest of us did that night.
    However, in this case it should be made clear that the caller (the victims girlfriend) CANCELLED the ambulance multiple times when questioned by dispatchers if the call was a priority or if it could wait. Unfortunately, the girlfriend didn’t know any better and probably didn’t expect to be questioned.
    This incident had multiple factors all coming together at the wrong time. Extreme weather, time of day, massive call volume, type of medical complaint, unknowing girlfriend, bad judgment and attitude of the medic.

  • stephanie

    SHE DOES NOT DESERVE HER JOB BACK This is sick and twisted.

  • Pat T Gullardi

    Sheryl, as a new paramedic, what you do not understand is that, as Molly said, there were many extenuating circumstances that were in play, not to mention the fact that the girlfriend cancelled the request repeatedly. As you will find, paramedics are under high stress every day of their career. Language used by some, like Dimon is simply a way to diffuse very difficult situations, dealing with life and death on a daily basis. A shame no one hears how many lives Dimon and her colleagues SAVE every day.

  • medic667

    New or old medic I think josie dimon forgot the basics of pt. care in the middle of this storm. She states that she contacted her supervisor on what she should do. I am really taken back that she would need to contact her higher ups. This is not rocket science, You need to make every effort to reach your pt. And as a dispatcher I’m disgusted, I could never imagine speaking to a family or pt. in the manor they were and at no time do you make your own recommendations, you just take the call for face value. I’m thinking this was a failure on all ends. all but the family, remember, if they were paramedics or dispatchers they would have known what to do for the pt. that’s why the called 911. This was their emergency not ms. dimons. Point is you leave no pt. behind ever, fired is what happens to people who can’t do the job!!!!!!

  • Rogue Medic

    Yes, Josie Dimon did make inappropriate comments to dispatch on a recorded line. She should be disciplined the way anyone else would for making inappropriate comments on a recorded phone line.

    That phone call is not why Curtis Mitchell did not receive help.

    The city was not prepared for the snow.

    At times, there was a 10 hour wait for 911 responses.

    If the crews had disregarded dispatch and tried to dig their way to the patient, that wait would have been even longer.

    How well will EMS work, if the crews are shoveling the streets for the snow plows, rather than using the same technology every sane person uses in this kind of weather – 4 wheel drive?

    This was not a case of crews going back to their station – they were immediately reassigned to the next 911 call waiting. All day long.

    We know where the EMS crews were. They were out in the snow for their entire shifts.

    Where was Public Safety Director Michael Huss?

    Why was the city so unprepared for snow?

    What kind of agency expects crews to dig their way to patients, rather than plow streets or use 4 wheel drive vehicles?

    This was the fault of incompetent planning.

  • medic667

    Pat, I do agree with the language. We are all sailors and truck drivers from time to time but it wasn’t the bleeped out parts that was the problems. It was ” were not a taxi service.” Come on, were waiting a block away for a pt. to show up, I’m certain that you don’t wait a couple hundred feet from a pt waiting on them to show up for you! I was in the same storm and worked 3 nights in it. We got stuck, and had some bad calls that almost seemed impossible, but we got to every pt. I do not assume a abd. pain call is always abd. pain. Therefore she had her mind made up on the condition of the pt. while eroute. Poor judgement by her, don’t you agree.

  • Rogue Medic


    Josie Dimon never spoke with the patient. She was cancelled by dispatch a quarter of a mile away from the residence. She did not cancel herself.

  • medic667

    I believe it was only when they couldn’t make it to the actual residence. I believe it was a block or two away. Now come on rogue, I’m sure u made a trek a half a mile into the woods for a pt. I know I have. I guess there are so many different versions of this story, but I believe she did make a comment about the pt coming to them, and that they are not a taxi service cause they were waiting on the pt. which tells me she was close enough to go to her pt. Regardless I feel she did not do all she could to make it to her pt. If I did a fraction of the bs they pull in the city I would have been fired yrs ago where I work. ABC’s up there are definitely airway, breathing, and can u walk to my ambulance.

  • Fyrecapt

    So let me get this straight…I can respond to a medical call, sit in my ambulance and tell the person calling to tell the person that is having a so called emergency to walk outside?

    Not only that, I can cuss you out, tell you where to go and throw all the responsibilty onto managements lap and take NO accountability for my actions at all????

    I would love a job like that. Sign me up.

    REALLY??? Come on people. Take responsibilty for your own actions. America is becoming so Wussified its crazy, specially in our line of work. If you cant deal with people, get out!!

    If I were to allow my crew to act that way with a patient, all of us would be held accountable, not the dept. We Screwed up, WE get disciplined.

    And Pat, while we may see life and death situations daily, it does not give us the right to treat ANYONE with disrespect. I have been a medic for over 20yrs in bad areas and I have yet to treat any of my patients with disrespect. If you are stressed out, take a break/vacation!!

    Either way, someone died and the wrong person was disciplined. The responding crew should be held accountable for their actions!