Colo. fire investigator's death following surgery deemed LODD by USFA

Berthoud Fire Investigator Joshua MacDonald injured his leg at a 2016 fire scene and had endured multiple surgeries, including leg amputation

Duty Death: Joshua MacDonald - [Berthoud, Colorado]

End of Service: 04/17/2020


By Laura French

BERTHOUD, Colo. — The death of a Colorado fire investigator who was injured at a fire scene in 2016 and underwent multiple surgeries, including a leg amputation, has been deemed a line-of-duty death (LODD), the U.S. Fire Administration announced this week. 

Berthoud Fire Protection District Investigator Joshua MacDonald, 34, died on April 17, 2020, following a surgery related to injuries he sustained when he fell through the floor and got his leg caught in electrical wiring in March 2016, according to the USFA

MacDonald's family told the Loveland Reporter-Herald that he died unexpectedly due to complications from an operation he underwent this past March. They said he had seemed to be improving and was looking forward to working at the fire station again

MacDonald thought the operation would be a simple cleaning of a scar on his leg, but doctors unexpectedly removed two more inches of his leg during the surgery, after which he experienced tremors and severe pain, his family said. 

While receiving workers' compensation, MacDonald was not allowed to change doctors and not all of his treatments were covered, including the model of knee replacement he was supposed to have, leading him to get a metal model that later became infected, his family recounted. The family said they believe he would not have died if he had received better medical treatment. 

MacDonald is remembered as a dedicated public servant who lived to help people both on and off duty, and that he once saved a boy from choking while on vacation in Hawaii. He is survived by his parents, two sisters, his wife Lauryn and their 12-year-old daughter Kaycee.

FireRescue1 profiled MacDonald's quest to become Colorado's first above-the-knee amputee firefighter in 2018.

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