Second opinion

If someone breaks their bone at my place of employment they go to a specialist assigned by that place of employment. And if that specialist determines that person needs reconstructive surgery, the employer just does it. Even if it is determined that the employee still might return to work.

Now you have someone who voluntarily sought mental health treatment for years and has been diagnosed over the years with things such as PTSD, major depressive disorder, anxiety, suicidal ideation, etc. All of which are from the type of work the employee does.

This employee finally snaps one day and says they are done with the job. The department administrators are incredibly helpful and want to assist the employee. They follow the procedures in place in order to get this employee what they need to return to work and finish their career.

The employee is sent to the mental health specialist chosen by the employer to have a “fit for duty” evaluation. This mental health specialist is provided with information about past treatment of the employee. This specialist spends 4 hours with the employee for the evaluation. This specialist concludes based on past history and the intense evaluation that the employee needs more intensive treatment. And most importantly, the specialist determines that the treatment is needed because of the work/job the employee does.

Treatment already approved to be covered by the employer’s insurance. Treatment at a facility that has already approved to take the employee. Treatment that would enable the employee to return to work.

Yet the employer (NOT the department the employee works under) has people who have zero expertise in mental health questioning the treatment that is approved and lined up. These people want a second opinion on the employee’s mental health diagnosis.

This employee has been waiting almost 2 months for the approved treatment when these people decide that they want a “second opinion”.

But guess what? These people don’t have a clue where that second opinion would come from.

The first “opinion” came from the very person chosen to make “fit for duty” determinations and referrals for treatment for mental health. A specialist who focuses on the type of work done by the employee’s department. But these people don’t feel that this mental health specialist’s “opinion” suffices.

Would they let a broken bone fester for 2 months?

Contrast

The contrast from one event to another is very interesting in the first responder world. I feel it has a huge part to do with acute stress that first responders build. This is just one example of the 1000’s I’ve had. It was the latest. I would love to hear others from any first responders.

Last shift I worked was the final night of a major festival in our city that occurs in the district I am responsible for. The last night of this festival includes a huge fireworks display.

I have some freedom in the position I have so I met my family at a location near the festival to watch the fireworks. I stopped for ice cream for my children on the way. I made it about 10 minutes with them before a vehicle accident with entrapment came across the radio. Being the closest Battalion Chief, I responded to assist.

The only patient was the passenger in a large truck. His wife was driving and their young son was in the back seat. They were hit head on by an alleged drunk driver. Another car had been following the swerving vehicle for a few miles. From what I was told, he was calling the police to report him. Then BAM…during his efforts to protect, the vehicle hits a family head on. Imagine what he felt seeing that.

The victim was very critical and unresponsive. He was what we call a “load and go” due to his condition. He was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.

While he was being loaded into the ambulance, his wife and son we’re watching. His mother had been contacted and came to the scene. When she saw him she immediately went into shock and became another patient.

When the incident was taken care of I left and drove right straight to where my family was. My husband and 2 children. We got to listen to some great music and watch an incredible fireworks display together.

In a matter of 30 minutes, I went from a scene of broken and twisted metal, a broken body, and a broken life to ice cream, music, and fireworks.

The contrast.