Fired Tennessee Vaccine Director Claimed She Was Sent a Dog Muzzle as a Threat, but Her Story Immediately Collapsed

Fired Tennessee Vaccine Director Claimed She Was Sent a Dog Muzzle as a Threat, but Her Story Immediately Collapsed
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Dr. Michelle Fiscus was Tennessee’s medical director of the Vaccine-Preventable Disease and Immunization Program but was fired in July due to her attempt to vaccinate teens as young as 14 behind the backs of parents and without their consent. Her conduct and tactics to get teens vaccinated were called “reprehensible” by Tennessee Rep. Scott Cepicky.

Now Fiscus is claiming that she was sent a dog muzzle in the mail, mistakenly to her old office. According to NBC News, Fiscus thought it was a joke by a colleague, but after her colleague denied it she took it as a threat.

“Dr. Fiscus said she felt it was a threat and that she should stop talking about vaccinating people,” said a report. “Due to her role in the vaccination program and her authoring a memo on Tennessee’s ‘Mature Minor’ Doctrine that she had been singled out for criticism by some people in the public, as well as several Tennessee Legislators.”

It looked like Fiscus was going to be the victim of an attempt at intimidation, but then as the investigation began things began to fall apart immediately.

It turns out that the person trying to intimidate Fiscus was Fiscus.

As reported by NBC News, the muzzle was purchased on Amazon by an account under Fiscus’s name and with a credit card that belonged to Fiscus. She, of course, denies buying and sending the muzzle to herself:

 She told NBC affiliate WSMV of Nashville that she acknowledges that the muzzle was paid for using an American Express that belongs to her but that she “vehemently denies” buying the muzzle and sending it to herself.

“I’ve thought about who could be to blame. It’s not anything that I have any evidence to show,” Fiscus told WSMV. “I think there is just a lot of layers here that … I don’t understand.”

Fiscus tweeted Monday night that “the state’s investigation did NOT conclude I sent the muzzle.”

“In fact, it only concluded my credit card was charged with the incorrect billing address – my state work office – to an Amazon account I didn’t know existed,” she said in the tweet.

“That account was apparently accessed from the State of Washington, where I had never been, by a cell phone using a carrier I have never used,” she said in another tweet. “I have asked the state for the full unredacted report and am awaiting a response.”

Investigators don’t seem moved by her claim, however.

“There is no evidence to indicate the dog muzzle was intended to threaten Dr. Fiscus,” wrote Special Agent Mario Vigil of the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

While there are still questions left within the investigation, it’s trending toward being a case of a politically charged state worker attempting to make it seem like her heroic efforts to vaccinate kids is resulting in her being attacked by her opponents in terrifying ways. More than likely, Fiscus is attempting to distract from her dishonorable ousting from her position by victimizing herself.

As NBC reported, she claims the firing was political but state documents make it clear that her termination was due to her poor leadership and management skills. Tennesee’s chief medical officer, Tim Jones, recommended her firing himself. None of that looks very good on a resume, and if politics is your main driving force, then there’s no better way to attract the spotlight than being the victim of political intimidation.

However, at this moment, it seems Fiscus isn’t really being intimidated by anyone or anything but her own bleak future, and that the only person sending her threats is herself.

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