BUFFALO, NY – Buffalo Firefighters are unhappy with the care they have received from Erie County Medical Center and Great Lakes Physicians Services. They claim that firefighters have been cleared to return to work while still injured and are not able to get timely appointments when they need medical clearance to return to work.
The problem stems from a contract signed by the city with Great Lakes Physicians Services that was supposed to improve care for firefighters who are injured while on duty and save money for the city. The firefighters union originally supported the agreement but has come to regret that decision.
According to Local 282 Vice President Thomas Barrett, examples of firefighter being returned to duty to early include:
- A firefighter who was missing skin on his hands as a result of the July 13 chemical fire at Niagara Lubricant in Black Rock.
- A firefighter with a knee injury was told to ice and elevate the leg when going back on duty.
In all cases when doctors sent the firefighters back to work with injuries, Deputy Fire Commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, when appraised of the situation, kept them off duty, Barrett said.