‘Chicago Fire’: Matt Needs to Speak Up Before It’s Too Late

Chicago Fire’s Matt Casey is in trouble. He’s still hiding a serious head injury. If he doesn’t do something soon, he could end up in a very bad situation. Here’s what happened last time on Chicago Fire.

Matt Casey continues to hide his injury on ‘Chicago Fire’

Matt has a history of head trauma. His doctor told him that if he ever hurt his head again, the injury could become debilitating. It’s clear Matt is getting to a point where it’s becoming tough to do his job. However, he continues to ignore the situation, push the pain aside, and lead his team of firefighters.

Matt pretends everything is OK, but Gallo knows something is wrong. He can see Matt is hurt, so he asks him about it. Instead of agreeing he needs to get medical help or at least alert Boden, Casey gives him a stern warning and tells him to back off.

Dr. Chris Airey, medical director at Optimale, says an employer isn’t allowed to ask about your disability or illness, but it’s best to bring up your health condition if it will significantly affect your work.

“It is usually in your best long- term interest to disclose if your illness may impact your ability to work under the standard circumstances at your workplace,” says Airey. “Seeking support and accommodation early can ensure you can maximize your productivity and job satisfaction, if of course those needs are accommodated.”

Fear is holding Matt back

Matt is afraid to admit he’s not doing well. It’s possible he’s afraid he will be asked to leave his job. He’s also concerned about appearing weak in front of his team. Either way, he needs to speak up before someone is seriously hurt.

During Season 9, Episode 10 (titled “One Crazy Shift”), it was obvious Matt’s head injury was affecting his performance during the call at the laundromat. He was in pain, and Gallo noticed right away. Unfortunately, Matt refuses to say anything.

“A common downside of disclosure that many of my patients have voiced is that it truly puts the burden on you to voice what you need and educate your employer regarding your illness or disability rights in general,” says Airey. “This is not ideal and can be an undue burden that affects your work, so be prepared for that emotional labor.”

Advice for Matt Casey

Matt might be afraid of the consequences of a revelation, but he needs to say something soon. By staying quiet he could make his condition worse or put someone in harm’s way. Airey suggests that Matt contact someone at his union and talk about what kinds of support systems are in place for someone in his situation.

“He should contact his union representative and a disability advocate and consult them on local laws, union bylaws, and his workplace’s policies on disability and chronic illness,” suggests Airey.

He says it’s important to have an understanding of your rights. “Firemen in particular have careers that expose them to elements that may cause or aggravate chronic conditions, so there are likely already supports in place he could explore. Ensuring you have support systems in place is important before you take the plunge and disclose. Know your rights and come in armed with knowledge and an open mind.”

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