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Pulse Paramedic With PTSD Fights to Regain Job After Firing

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An Orlando fire fighter is hitting back after being fired last week.

Joshua Granada wants his job back as a paramedic and engineer. He was fired last week after the department says he recorded audio of a patient on a medical call and then played it for other firefighters.

He said that patient was Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill. Speaking to reporters, Granada says he recorded Hill because she was combative and abusive.

“I have never received any disciplinary actions prior to this, and my actions on the day in question were only done to protect my crew after I felt threatened,” Granada said.

Hill’s office has not responded to multiple calls for comment starting last week.

Granada said responding to the Pulse nightclub shooting has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he asked the department for help. Granada is asking to be reinstated, and has filed a workers’ compensation claim and a union grievance over his firing.

“Once I brought this to light, I was denied that help by my employer,” Granada said. “After trying for multiple months to get help, battling through thoughts of suicide, at my wits end, I finally decided to write a letter directly to the chief. Skip the chain of command, and hope that if I write him directly, my pleas would be answered. However, those pleas were ignored and the help I sought was again denied.”

Granada added: “While they say all the right things in public, I promise you, those of us who are suffering from any kind of mental illness, we are ostracized, we are harassed, and we are ignored.”

In a statement, the fire department said no firefighters were denied mental health services or harassed for seeking treatment, and Granada’s actions during Pulse don’t justify the illegal recording of a patient getting medical care.

“It is troubling to learn there may have been ongoing issues that the union was aware of and they failed to notify [Orlando Fire Department] administration or direct firefighters to the resources available to all public safety personnel,” wrote Ashley Papagni, spokeswoman for the Orlando Fire Department. “No firefighter was denied mental health services nor was any firefighter harassed for seeking treatment.”

The statement also says Granada’s response to Pulse doesn’t change what happened.

“Unfortunately, Granada’s actions the night of the Pulse shooting, however heroic, do not justify the illegal recording of a patient receiving medical care – violating their right to privacy.”

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.