A former Saratoga Springs firefighter dismissed because he fainted constantly when giving injections is suing the city to get his job back.
Nathaniel King lost his job with the fire department on Dec. 31 after he failed to complete training to qualify as a paramedic, according to a lawsuit filed against the city in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County.
King also is asking for back pay.
City officials said King doesn’t meet current requirements for being a firefighter, which include being a certified paramedic. Paramedics are required to administer injections and to do intravenous procedures.
But, during training for certification, “Whenever he was required to administer an injection, he lost consciousness,” according to the court documents. “During several of these incidents, [he] fell to the floor, striking parts of his body on furniture, people, etc. on the way down.”
King did not return a phone call to The Daily Gazette on Wednesday.
In his lawsuit, he stated that he was hired after scoring well on a civil service examination and completing firefighting and emergency medical technician training as required by the city.
But after King’s appointment on March 17, 2007, the department increased the requirements for the job from EMT to paramedic certification, according to the lawsuit.
Assistant Fire Chief John Betor said the requirements for city jobs change on a regular basis, and department heads worked with city civil service officials for six months before updating the demands for positions last year.
Betor said a paramedic is an emergency medical technician, but is the highest level of EMT. “There are EMTs, Advanced EMTs and EMT Paramedics,” he said. “The paramedic is the top level, the most skilled.”
He said most firefighters in the city department are EMTs.
“There are a few exceptions who were hired before the requirement was put in place,” he said.
King was still on probation as a recently hired firefighter when the regulation changed requiring the top EMT schooling. Betor said that as firefighters increase their training level, their pay levels also increase.
He said he couldn’t speak to the specifics of King’s case, but said he was aware of the lawsuit.
In his court filing, King states that Betor had tried to help him with his problem. “On advice of [Betor, King] even tried hypnotism to overcome his inability to administer a needle, but it didn’t work.”
Assistant City Attorney Tony Izzo said he was not familiar with the details of the King lawsuit, but he had handled similar cases in the past.
“Basically, if a person doesn’t meet the qualifications, they can’t have the job,” he said.
Public Safety Commissioner Ronald Kim said he had only recently received the paperwork on the litigation, and he would be talking with the rest of the City Council about how to proceed.
“No decisions have been made on where we will go from here, but it is litigation, so I can’t talk about it,” Kim said.