The board of directors of the JEB Stuart Rescue Squad voted unanimously Sunday to terminate the employment of emergency medical technician Alex McNabb, who had been suspended after a published report said he had made racist comments on a neo-Nazi podcast.
McNabb had been on paid leave since an investigation was launched following The Huffington Post’s Dec. 8 article that reported McNabb, 35, is a frequent co-host of “The Daily Shoah,” on which he regularly tells stories about being an EMT, often referring to patients by racist slurs and comparing black patients to animals.
The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, which fielded a complaint about McNabb before the Post’s report, wrote in a letter last month that it had found no substantial evidence to support allegations that McNabb violated EMS regulations prohibiting discrimination in providing care.
But the rescue squad’s board took up McNabb’s part-time employment status as part of a budget meeting on Sunday, and nine members voted to fire him. Wren Williams, the board’s attorney, abstained, citing his legal role.
“The board had already scheduled a meeting for March 10 to discuss its budget audit, so we added this item to the agenda for discussion in executive session,” Williams wrote in an email. “In executive session, the board members discussed their views on the situation, pros and cons, and discussed the legal opinion obtained from outside counsel.
“Outside of executive session, the board voted unanimously to terminate Mr. McNabb’s employment.”
Williams said McNabb was notified via text message and will be sent a formal letter later this week.
McNabb did not respond immediately Monday to requests for comment.
“The board felt that this was in the best interest of the squad, which must continue to provide quality care to our residents,” Williams said.
The Huffington Post reported that in one episode of a podcast, in which McNabb assumes the persona of “Dr. Narcan,” he told a story of an “unruly young African-American male child running around” an emergency room.
The child was there to get blood drawn, “so guess who volunteered to take his blood? … Dr. Narcan enjoyed great, immense satisfaction as he terrorized this youngster with a needle and stabbed him thusly in the arm with a large-gauge IV catheter.”
McNabb has described his podcast statements as constitutionally protected satire. In a previous email to the Martinsville Bulletin, he wrote that, while on-duty with the rescue squad, “my professional conduct is 100 percent dedicated to serving all patients equally, and there are, to my knowledge, no reports of misconduct or dereliction of duty over the nine years that I have had EMS certifications.”
He adamantly denied ever discriminating in his care of patients.
According to the summary of its investigation, the Virginia Office of EMS had received on Nov. 26 an anonymous online complaint that McNabb’s “‘far right-wing views’ on social media should render him unable to perform as an EMT in Virginia. This was soon followed by national media coverage and multiple other complaints concerning the same issue.”
Paul Fleenor, a Virginia EMS program representative, wrote in a letter to McNabb dated Feb. 25 that “there is no substantial evidence to support any violation of the EMS regulations. The Office of EMS considers this case closed and no further investigation into this matter will be conducted.”
The investigation included an audit that showed none of the 39 patient care reports that were initiated and/or completed by McNabb during the past year indicated discrimination or inappropriate patient care. They included cases involving minority and non-minority patients with similar or same chief complaints.
“The care rendered by Alex McNabb of all these patients was compared, to identify any differences in treatment and/or transport decisions; to which no differences were identified and care delivered to all patients was consistent between groups,” the investigation report said.
Jason Edsall, McNabb’s operational medical director, said he had not received complaints of discrimination or inappropriate patient care. Co-workers of McNabb’s said they never had witnessed any discrimination or inappropriate patient care, and they consistently said they were shocked to find out that McNabb even had these viewpoints.
Rescue Squad Capt. Derek Wagner, Patrick County Emergency Services Coordinator Steve Allen and Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith said they had never received complaints against McNabb.