MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In tonight’s What’s Working, an important member of the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department, is retiring after more than three decades on the job. He didn’t fight fires, but he spent countless hours working with paramedics and EMTs. Dr. John McMahon stepped down as medical director this week. He joined the department 34 years ago.
As medical director, he helped pass legislation to give paramedics the authority to perform more lifesaving measures in the field, instead of waiting until the patient is at the hospital. Before the legislation, paramedics could only do things like chest compressions when a patient was in distress. Now, EMTs across the state can start IVs, insert breathing tubes and other lifesaving measures.
MFRD Fire Chief Jeremy Lami said Dr. McMahon has been very hands-on.
“Dr. McMahon has always been available,” said Lami. “We can call him any time of day. He shows up on scenes all the time. He has shown up and helped with patient care. That separates him from most medical directors that you will see.”
Deputy Chief Jim Cox said McMahon truly cares about the MFRD employees and the city of Mobile. “For 21 years I have worked Mardi Gras, and I can’t remember anywhere he wasn’t working side by side with me and any of the crews here,” said Cox.
WKRG’s Devon Walsh first met Dr. McMahon over 20 years ago when she and a photographer traveled to New York City to profile members of MFRD who were working at the pile. Dr. McMahon is a member of the Disaster Medical Assistance Team that rendered aid to first responders who were working at the site of the Twin Towers collapse. McMahon shared his memories last year of working in NYC during WKRG’s 20th-anniversary piece about the attacks.
“The people of New York were friendly knowing we were there working on the pile,” Dr. McMahon told us in 2021.
McMahon now passes the torch to the new medical director, Dr. Jason Eversull, who he inspired to become a physician several years ago when Eversull was a paramedic.