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Baytown agrees to pay for firefighter's cancer treatment, but is still suing

Battalion Chief Patrick Mahoney
Battalion Chief Patrick Mahoney (KPRC2)

BAYTOWN, Texas – A Baytown firefighter being sued by the city over medical expenses left Thursday night’s City Council meeting disappointed.

Battalion Chief Patrick Mahoney was hoping the City of Baytown would drop its lawsuit against him.

“It’s been extremely stressful. Disconcerting,” he said. "I’d say personally offensive and hurtful.”

The firefighter of 16 years was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2016. Being exposed to the conditions that come with fires, Mahoney thought he'd be covered by law through workmen's compensation.

Mahoney said he applied for workmen’s comp and was denied, but on appeal, he was awarded coverage.

“The city says its looking for clarification but I’m not sure how much clearer it can get than that,” he said.

Soon, he found his employer fighting the decision.

“The issue I understand it, from a legal standpoint, is a discussion on whether not this particular illness is covered on the World Health Organization’s list that’s referred to in state statutes,” said Mayor Stephen DonCarlos.

Mayor DonCarlos said the city could be financially burdened down the line of the state legislature doesn’t clarify what types of cancers should be covered.

“All we are asking on the city is a definitive statutory judicial guidance as to whether or not this particular illness should or should not be covered by workers compensation,” he said.

Dozens of firefighters, members of the Baytown Professional Firefighters Association and State Rep. Mary Ann Perez showed up to Thursday’s meeting to urge the city to drop its lawsuit and reimburse Mahoney for the balance workmen’s comp didn’t pay.

“He’s been out of pocket those funds for quite sometime and it isn’t easy, especially not on a firefighter’s salary,” said Perez, who has a son that’s a firefighter.

Mahoney said the city reached out to him this week to reimburse him.