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Firefighters & EMT’s with Multiple Sclerosis

I am seeking information on this topic. Leave links, info, etc. in the comments please.

Discuss it on the Fire Critic Facebook Page as well

I have a friend, a brother, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He is a Firefighter & Paramedic in a dual role department. His recent diagnosis was shocking for him to say the least, but he has held his head high. I cannot imagine what he is going through and it shows his strength. He is currently on light duty due to the disease. I admit, I did not know much about the disease until he told me about his diagnosis. He informed me of what he knew about it and I have read up on it a little since then. There is no cure for MS. Also, Multiple Sclerosis is not the same as Muscular Dystrophy.

Image from U.S. National Library of Medicine - The World's Largest Medical Library

I speak with him occasionally about his progress and the disease’s progression. Since his diagnosis, he has been able to begin medication which (from what I understand) will lessen the effects of MS and prolong its progression. He wants to come back to work and when I spoke to him the other day he said he felt great. His medication has helped with the signs and symptoms he was experiencing prior to the diagnosis.

I hope he is capable to return to work. I also hope that if he isn’t able to, our department doesn’t cast him away as they have some of my other brothers who have suffered from ailments (including injuries sustained at work).

So what is Multiple Sclerosis?

PubMedHealth:

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

It is more common in women than men and commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20-40.

The outcome varies, and is hard to predict. Although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be normal or almost normal. Most people with MS continue to walk and function at work with minimal disability for 20 or more years.

The range of people who are effected by MS is 2-150 out of every 100,000.

More information on Wikipedia here.

I have not been able to find much information on firefighters and/or EMT’s who suffer from the disease and are able to maintain an active duty role in suppression operations. I have found several articles on firefighters able to continue working in a non-suppression role.

I did find this article about Oswego Firefighter/Paramedic Dave Sackett from April 2011.

MS has not changed Sackett’s daily work routine. He completes all trainings, all house duties and all physical tests. However, he is more cautious and refuses to take any risks that put himself, co-workers or patients in danger. read more

I also found a thread on MSWorld.comthe thread started in July of 2010 and has been updated as recently as September 2011. read more

If you have any information, words of wisdom/encouragement, or links to other stories please leave them in the comments section below.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Bryant Greene

    Another link which may provide more information in regards to MS is http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx which is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There is a great deal of information of that site from the different forms of MS to treatment, etc.

  • http://www.rescuingprovidence.com michael

    Living with MS is difficult, there are varying degrees of disability and time before things get worse. My wife was diagnosed in 1991, and had symptoms for years prior to the official diagnosis. Up until ten years ago hey condition was manageable with little disruption to her daily life, but things have gotten more difficult. She uses a cane now, and has other troubles. Not an easy thing to deal with, I hope things stay stable for your friend with MS. As for now, we’re taking things one day at a time, eating right and staying positive.

    • Jennifer

      Michael: God bless you both.

  • Jennifer

    I encourage any and all who have MS to go to your doctor. Michael is correct. It is as different for each patient as hair color. If any of you would like to contact me I am up for giving and receiving encouragement/support.