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While out with injured shoulder, paramedic started second career, as a nurse

Jenine Gollogly Chicago fire paramedic disability leave now working as nurse.

Jenine Gollogly, a Chicago fire paramedic on disability leave and now working as a nurse.

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Updated: October 18, 2012 6:04AM

While out on sick leave with a shoulder injury she suffered as a Chicago Fire Department paramedic, Jenine Gollogly was off the job but already working on her next career.

She completed nursing school, got her state license and landed a nursing job — all while complaining of chronic pain in numerous medical exams that concluded she was unable to return to work for the fire department.

City officials won’t say whether they knew Gollogly was in nursing school while she was getting sick pay from the fire department to rehabilitate her shoulder — or whether her recovery might have been hampered by her nursing training and the job she subsequently landed as a labor-and-delivery nurse.

Gollogly — who never returned to work for the fire department — is among 390 Chicago firefighters and paramedics out on disability. Altogether, they are paid more than $27 million a year by the cash-strapped city fire pension fund, which is financed by fire personnel and taxpayers.

Gollogly, 44, who could not be reached for comment for this story, gets $57,284 a year in disability pay. She has gotten more than $370,000 since she went on disability in January 2006.

Gollogly was 24 when she joined the fire department in 1992.

On New Year’s Day in 2005, she hurt her right shoulder while lifting a patient at Loretto Hospital, then spent a year on sick leave, complaining of chronic shoulder pain and undergoing surgery.

On Jan. 1, 2006, she went on disability.

Five months later, she got her nursing degree from Richard J. Daley College, graduating with high honors.

She then got her nursing license and began working in labor and delivery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to city and state records.

According to medical reports, Gollogly was undergoing continuing physical therapy because she had trouble lifting heavy objects more than two years after she got hurt. Those reports say she wasn’t able to return to her job as a paramedic but that she felt she could work as a nurse.

“She reported not obtaining significant relief of her shoulder symptoms since her most-recent surgery,” says an April 26, 2007, medical progress report filed with the fire pension fund. “She previously reported that she works as a labor-and-delivery nurse and that this position does not require significant lifting.”

Gollogly now works in home health care, according to pension fund records.

The daughter of a retired Chicago firefighter, Gollogly is divorced from a Chicago firefighter and lives in Darien with the couple’s daughter.

Gollogly underwent an examination last November by the pension fund’s Dr. George S. Motto, who also runs a weight-management clinic in Arlington Heights. He found that she still was unable to return to the fire department and scheduled her for another exam in November 2013.

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