Paramedic : On the Front Lines of Medicine

Paramedic : On the Front Lines of Medicine

4.5 27
by Peter Canning
     
 

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In this unforgettable, dramatic account of one man's experience as an EMT, Peter Canning relives the nerve-racking seconds that can mean the difference between a patient's death and survival, as Canning struggles to make the right call, dispense the right medication, or keep a patient's heart beating long enough to reach the hospital. As Canning tells his graphic,

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Overview

In this unforgettable, dramatic account of one man's experience as an EMT, Peter Canning relives the nerve-racking seconds that can mean the difference between a patient's death and survival, as Canning struggles to make the right call, dispense the right medication, or keep a patient's heart beating long enough to reach the hospital. As Canning tells his graphic, gripping war stories—of the lives he saved and lost; of the fear, the nightmares, and the constant adrenaline-pumping thrill of action—we come away with an unforgettable portrait of what it means to be a hero.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To be a paramedic, Canning reports in this absorbing chronicle of his first year on the job in Hartford, Conn., is to be demeaned as an "ambulance driver" and to be disparaged by white-collar colleagues and even by patients. But the work is greatly rewarding as well, providing a panoramic view of society and a concrete sense of accomplishment (though, sometimes, anguish). Canning's vignettes, brisk if not always elegant, are elevated by the perspective he brings. As a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and a former health department staffer for Connecticut governor Lowell Weicker, Canning traded statehouse compromise for street survival. "Don't assume anything," Canning's paramedic teacher tells him, and Canning learns his way without losing empathy. He goes through heart attacks, drug overdoses, a patient soiling his uniform, even the delivery of a dead baby. He reads obits"the EMT Sports Pages"looking for background on the people he tried to help. He reflects on aging after depressing visits to nursing homes, laments poor kids doomed in "houses unfit for human habitation" and checks his own hostility when racial conflict unnecessarily shadows his work. And he wonders about public policy, how so many people "crying wolf" can lead to poor response and how Connecticut's policy of home rule affects unequal emergency services. In places, Canning strains"I want to find my own greatness," he writesbut he succeeds in finding heroism in an important job done well. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Medical adventures and introspective musings by a paramedic learning the ropes in Hartford, Conn.

Canning is not your typical paramedic, if there is such a creature. His background includes 12 years of service in Washington, D.C., with Senator Lowell Weicker and later in Hartford when newly elected Governor Weicker appointed him to the state health department. Thus Canning, whose daily life centers on the nitty-gritty of emergency medicine, mostly in an inner city, brings to his work the larger perspective of a former policy wonk. He is keenly aware both of society's ills and of government's inability to solve them. There are enough gory details here to satisfy anyone's curiosity about just what it is that paramedics do and how they do it. Some 911 calls are matters of life and death, but others involve minor accidents or trivial incidents; thus the paramedic's day is an unpredictable mix of tension, action, frustration, and boredom, of racing against time and of waiting around. Early in his paramedic career, Canning worries about being good enough, and he writes honestly of his struggles to meet the high standards he has set for himself. Later, as his skills improve and he gains confidence, he frets about the status of his new profession. Canning bridles when patients refer to him as a mere ambulance driver or doctors snub him, and he glows when nurses compliment his work. Paramedics, it seems, don't get much respect. Nevertheless, at the end of a day's work, Canning the paramedic knows for certain that he has made a real difference in someone's world, a reward that Canning the speechwriter never received.

A vivid account of emergency medicine that should go a long way toward generating respect for paramedics.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804116145
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
366,009
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.97(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Canning is a full-time paramedic in Hartford, Connecticut. In addition to his government jobs, he has worked as a cabdriver, cook, meatpacker, telephone solicitor, book reviewer, and laborer. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Canning is currently at work on a novel about EMS.

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