Lost Job Due To Pacemaker


I am new here. I had a Medtronics pacemaker #ADDR01 implanted in Aug. at the age of 47 years old. I was working as a Locomotive Engineer at the time. However, since the locomotives have electromagnetic fields, though the risk was low, my Cardiologist said that it was too great of a risk due to how much my heart is using the pacemaker. Subsequently, my railroad terminated me since I could not fulfill my job requirement. This has been devastating. It was a job that I was very passionate about and very much apart of me. That may sound funny to some, but it gets in your blood and there was nothing like running those wonderful machines.

I am struggling with the grief of not being able to ever do my job again. Having to get a pacemaker was a shock and I am still stunned.

Not sure what else to say.

Thank you for listening, or should I say, reading.



by scpck - 2007-12-01 08:12:08

That's so sad. I love trains but know absolutely nothing about them. It seems a shame the company can't accommodate you in some way rather than lose all your experience. I was older when I no longer could do my job (RN) 55 vs your 47 but it was sufficient to apply for SS disability. I realize you are under a different plan RR Retirement-right?
I believe I'd look around for some type of discrimination (that's not the word I'm looking for exactly). Perhaps agent? Anyway wait around here for a few minutes and you will get more replies. Meanwhile welcome to the Pacemaker Club. I'm an August pacer myself.


by jessie - 2007-12-01 10:12:11

i am sorry about your loss. however i would think the company would have some responsibility in retraining you? have you looked into that. just because you can't do that job anymore you have lots and lots of experience. you should be offered retraining. other people have. you are young look into it. do you have dependants? anyway some of the guys may have some other things to say. jessie welcome again


by janetinak - 2007-12-02 02:12:53

You might look into the American with Disabilities Act
any civil rights or legal aide attorney group or maybe Civil Liberties Union can help you with your options I would think.

Good luck.

Thank you everyone :)

by CJD2007 - 2007-12-02 04:12:05

Thank you for your replies and warm welcoming :D

I started out on a major RR, Class 1, 11 yrs ago. However, I have been in and out of the industry during that time. I have 5 yrs of my craft-Locomotive Engineer.

The last RR I worked for is a shortline RR. They have the policy of employment "at will." They can terminate at their will. If perhaps I had been with one of the Class I RR's, I would have had the union behind me and more than likely a better turnout.

I do have benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board, so that is helping. I am using the states Job Vocational Rehabilitation Center to seek retraining.

How are people here coping with having to change their lives?

Anyone else have to give up a passion of theirs, job, etc?

Thank you,

Welcome CJ

by pacergirl - 2007-12-02 12:12:25

Hi CJ,

My husband is an engineer. One of my great pleasures in life was riding in the engine during the warmer months and leaning out the window watching him work. I never got tired of going on a short haul with him. I always wanted to drive the train on on a special occasion I did get to "run" the train. Then I got the pacer..... of course I am glad to be alive.... but no more rides in the engine for me. ;-( I can certainly understand what you are going through. All of us has given something up that was so unique to us. Special to us. I am so sorry for your loss. Not only your job, but the joy that it brought to you. You are not alone.

Seems odd that the railroad could fire you because of the pacer. Could they not fine another place for you so you could still be around the engines but not actually running one? Are you with a national co. or a local one? My husband works for a local line in Wichita Kansas. It isn't that I don't believe you, I just thought it was against US labor laws. You may wish to seek legal advise.

It has taken a lot of time to adjust mentally and emotionally to having the pacer. The alternative isn't so pleasing, so I am adjusting.

Best of luck to you


by Broken Hearted Jane - 2007-12-08 03:12:28

I had my device implanted my junior year of high school, and had to sacrifice varsity swimming and tennis. I also missed one of my proms because I was in the hospital. Six years later, this seems really silly, but at the time I was absolutely destroyed. Now what I miss most is being able to travel without worrying that my baggage is too heavy or that I'll miss my flight/bus/train/whatever (I've been defibrillated fully conscious at both the airport and the train station). I realize that this does not compare to losing a job due to your condition, but it's certainly been something with which I've had to cope. I try to remind myself that things could always be worse, but that's not always enough.

Thank you Broken Hearted Jane ;)

by CJD2007 - 2007-12-13 12:12:46

No, Your comment does help. I understand what it must have been like to be in HS and not be able to go to those one time functions, i.e., prom, sports, etc. It is hard. But, you are right, it could always be worse.

Thank you again,
Casey Jo

You know you're wired when...

Your license plate reads “Pacer4Life”.

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