After medevac copter crash, paramedic is fired

Photo via Miles Weske GoFundMe page.

The crews of medevac helicopters fly into the worst weather on dark nights because someone needs help. Anybody aboard longing for a long life would do well to find another line of work. But those aboard have different values. That’s why I referred to them as “angels in helicopters” when I wrote in December about Miles Weske’s recovery from a crash in Alexandria, Minn., during bad weather in September.

miles_weskeHe had just gotten out of the hospital and the Nisswa man had one goal — to get back in the air as a paramedic.

Other than a sightseeing flight his friends gave him to buoy his spirits, it didn’t happen. He still has some paralysis in a hand, his wife, Brooklyn — a flight nurse herself — writes on her blog.

Things seemed to be looking up in January. He was given a job in which he could work from home on projects to improve the quality of care at Air Care, the medevac company.

His wife tells their side of the story…

While Miles was putting in his work hours, he was confused as why he wasn’t performing QA/QI work as discussed. Miles was curious to find out, so he made a phone call to a supervisor. Miles was told by this supervisor that he was not needed for QA/QI.

He was then informed that his job role was to ensure there was information in the boxes that the billing department would need to send the chart for reimbursement.

He would not be looking into the charts for any information other than for billing, and he was only allowed to access metropolitan area ground ambulance BLS (or non-life-threatening) calls. I could tell Miles was disappointed. He won’t complain, and he didn’t want to talk about it… but I know him a little bit.

He was so excited to be part of the AirCare team again, and to hopefully get his brain working up to snuff. Unfortunately, this job was not going to help with that part of his recovery. Sucks.

He was eventually fired from his paramedic job with Air Care, and sent to work in the billing department of North Memorial instead. The dream of getting back in the air was officially over with a phone call, she writes.

Miles, at this point, almost in tears stated humbly: “But I was just in a company helicopter crash.”

#1 in Command Replied:
“I understand that Miles, but we still do not have any place for you within Air Care.”

To make the conversation even worse, it continued.

“Miles, I do have some more things to talk to you about. We noticed that you took some Paid-Time-Off (PTO) on the last paycheck. We just want you to know that even though you are in a different work position, the same rules apply. You need to request the PTO at least 3 weeks in advance, and then we will let you know if it is approved.”

Miles explained that he had taken some time off due to traveling for several appointments, as well as a few hours here and there that he could not complete due to therapies. But, that wasn’t a good enough answer.

Please note–This quote may not be exact, as Miles’ notes from this one were a little hard to read, but the same purpose is there and I attempted to make it as accurate as possible. —-#1 in Command cut him off to proclaim:

“I understand that you have a lot of appointments, but PTO must be requested the same as before the accident. We need to let the billing department know that you will not be completing your work for the week. The billing department needs to make accommodations to distribute the lost work hours to other employees. We can’t give you special treatment, Miles.”

And it continued:

“We also need you to establish regular working hours. We need you to work similar hours as the rest of the billing department employees. That will be Monday through Friday and either 8am to 430pm or 9am to 530 pm. We can’t have you putting in hours whenever you want,” stated the #1 in Command.

Miles explained that his days are packed. If he is not at therapies during the weekday, he is traveling to or from appointments, which are often 3 hours away from home. He mentioned that the only time he can fit in the work is in the evenings or weekends, and often into the early morning hours. He just can’t work a so-called “normal” schedule right now.

# 1 in Command once again replied to Miles’ plea:

“ If that schedule does not work for you, I would suggest that you look into other careers. Are you familiar with how to get to the North Careers website, Miles?”

“You go to the North Memorial website homepage and then you click on “Careers.” I would start looking for something that might fit your needs. If you see something that interests you, I would recommend submitting your application. If you can’t find anything that works for you, then you might have to consider a different employer. I know Crosby is looking for a Respiratory Therapist. You used to work at Crosby, didn’t you, Miles?”

Miles was silent for nearly 30 seconds. Then, he finally answered #1’s question with simply: “Yes.”

After more silence, the conversation ended with Miles stating “I sincerely thank you both for your time.” Everyone hung up their phones.

Brooklyn Center-based North Memorial tells the Alexandria Echo Press that although Weske has been terminated by Air Care, he’s still a North Memorial “team member,” but had no further comment.

The couple says it will pursue legal action.