On March 25, 2016, Berthoud (Colorado) Firefighter-Investigator Joshua MacDonald responded to a fatal dwelling fire where he performed EMS care on an occupant of the home. Later, he returned to investigate the scene of the fatal fire, when he fell through the floor and his leg got caught in electrical wiring. Since that time, he had undergone numerous surgeries, to include the amputation of his leg. Fire Investigator Joshua MacDonald died in the Line of Duty after another surgery on April 17, 2020.
NUMEROUS MEDICAL & BUREAUCRATIC CHALLENGES:
Before the surgery Josh was starting to improve, and was even looking into getting back to working at the fire district again, which had been his #1 goal since the injury.
After having more than 20 surgeries on his leg over the past four years, Josh had a surgery on March 16 for what he thought would be a simple cleaning up of a scar on his knee. Unbeknownst to him, the doctor removed 2 more inches of his leg in surgery. His leg experienced near-constant tremors after that surgery that would cause him to vomit in pain and make his whole body shake.
The family is critical of the medical care Joshua received, and believes that if he had received better treatment-he would still be alive. They are trying to focus more on the legacy that Josh left instead of holding onto their anger, but are still frustrated by the way he was treated. His Mom stated: “After every surgery it just seemed to get worse,” …“I’m trying to not be a hateful person but it’s hard. Because I blame those doctors for what I and my husband and my daughter went through.”
WTF: Worker’s compensation wouldn’t let him change doctors, which barred him from seeking a second opinion. It also wouldn’t always approve the treatments he needed, Lauryn said. At one point it wouldn’t cover the type of knee replacement that he was supposed to get and made him get a model that had metal in it instead, which became infected.
The Berthoud Fire District was supportive of Josh throughout his ordeal. Josh kept all of his certificates up-to-date after the incident so that he would be ready when the time came.
Josh is survived by his parents Norman and Julie, his sisters Michelle and Nicole, his wife Lauryn and his 12-year-old daughter Kaycee. His funeral will be held at Foundations Church in July. More details about the service will be forthcoming.
NOW is a great time to review the protections you have as a Firefighter as well as personally. The above bull$hit should not have happened. Expecting the care you were promised and a cooperative workers comp system – allowing and even encouraging second opinions – should be expected by any Firefighter injured in the Line of Duty.
RELATED: TRACK your own fire & emergency related exposures (FREE APP) TO INSURE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN record system – in addition to what else may be required at your department: