Paramedic : On the Front Lines of Medicine

( 26 )

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 ...
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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.
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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: 9/28/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 253,478
  • 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book! Very true to real life EMS. I liked this one bette

    Great book! Very true to real life EMS. I liked this one better than the first book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Paramedic by Peter Canning follows his transition from the borin

    Paramedic by Peter Canning follows his transition from the boring day to day live behind a desk, to the ever changing world that is a paramedic. Through the six month journey that this book is based, Peter learns to think on his feet and deal with a variety of trauma, disease, and death that is in the everyday life of a paramedic. Through literally blood and sweat, he learns to balance his job with his social life, and he learns to follow truly what he enjoys, and that money and a position of power do not equate to happiness. This is a fantastic book which provides excellent insight into the world of another. This book is based more during the 1990’s, where AIDS, racism, and general misinformation about illnesses run rampant. Peter Canning has a fantastic writing style which makes this book a very easy read. It was very difficult to put down, and it truly opened my eyes into what it takes to be a paramedic, and truly how completely unique their jobs and lives are. One thing that I did not like about the book, is that with any job, it becomes a little bit routine towards the end. However, when alcoholics and heart attacks are put of your daily job, it is still very easy to stay intrigued with the book. This book would be a very good read for anyone, especially if there looking into how paramedics operate, and what it takes to be one. This book would greatly benefit any upcoming paramedics, or anyone looking to see how another job operates, especially under incredible stress. Another book I would strongly recommend is Paramedic to the Prince by Patrick Notestine. Based on the incredible writing style, and the fantastic subject of being a paramedic, this book easily earns, and deserves a five out of five.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Inspiring & Amusing

    I read this book as a new EMT and couldn't put it down. As a Paramedic now, I continue to search for a realistic EMS account that draws me in as much as this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2011

    Great read for EMS members

    As a lowly EMT-B working for a Volunteer Fire Department out in the boonies, I really found a lot to recommend in this book. Not only easily readable, humorous, and spot on, this book really gave me some insight to the inner workings of the mind of a SuperMedic. Seriously, the book presents several examples of the types of "calls" EMS personnel see all to frequently. I found the insight of how these calls were handled helpful in how I will react when I roll on something similar. I have already bought Peter Cannings other works and am looking forward to reading them. I believe you will find them good reads as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    Ok

    Has potential to be a great book. I feel the political science could be left out. In the begining its great, but threw out the book could be left out. Spelling and grammer should not have been over looked.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    great read!

    i have not read the ebook but rather the paperback before ereaders came along. any errors are definitely an upload issue as Peters writting is brilliant. this book brings you to the days of medics walking the streets as a brand new level of care and their amazing heroics and tales. a great read for anyone in ems!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing detail-anybody in EMS will really like this book.

    I work as a BLS (Basic Life Support) provider, for 4 years now; I have responded on several injuries both severe and non-severe. Therefore, I must say, I love this book. It is a tale of both despair and excitement. You will go on a sad and joyous journey of a young pre-politician turned paramedic as he responds to calls that will make him question the very life he was given in the Hartford, Connecticut area. Some of his anecdotes are harrowing and emotional when he deals with death, but the few times he makes a save will be heartwarming and uplifting. Peter Canning starts out as a politician's aid that has had enough of the boring office life and wants to truly make a change for his city, so he signs up and trains to be part of the EMS (Emergency Medical Service). He often makes mistakes in his first couple of years in training, but eventually he learns how to be a better ALS (Advanced Life Support) provider, and a more sincere person in general. There are calls that question the moral fabric of the government's medical care and even the EMS protocol itself, it is an underlying message that shows it's face throughout the book. A theme that remains static through the novel was the emotional stress that is put on the individuals who decide to join this career. Since I am involved in BLS, I liked all the medical jargon, and even learned a few things from the text. I also like the voice that Peter Canning uses in his writing, I have yet to read his next novel but I assure you that I will. The parts I didn't like were when he went into detail about his previous career working for the politician, but these parts were necessary to the storyline, they just got kind of, frankly put, boring. Anyone who is part of EMS or even knows basic CPR will most likely enjoy this book because it delves deeper into the mind when it is responding to an emergency, and you will pick up on some very important signs and symptoms of the patients that he writes about, that normal people would ignore, which I thought was really cool. I think people would most likely not like this book would be the folks that are not medically trained; there is jargon that they would not understand and things that they have not dealt with so they would not really get the significance, but it is full of action so maybe they would like it after all. I don't know any other books like this that show, in detail, what anybody in the medical field goes through. This book is very unique in that respect, so I really could not tell what book to go read next for those that liked it. Rescue 471 would be the closest thing because it is written by Peter Canning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2010

    good for medics

    If you love the job, you'll love and appreciate this book. You can relate to all the events and really get into it. If you are not in the medical field at all, you will understand more about what we grow through everyday.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    what on earth?

    Not sure if all eBooks have as many typos and grammatical errors as this one...I hope not. This is my first eBook and it is a great concept but I hope it is just Peter's writing that is this awful. The book itself has good insights and anecdotes, but it is an almost impossible read. The letters H and I together appear as a capital M, and that is only one of the very repetitive typos throughout the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2006

    Wonderfully written

    An amazing story, I have grown up with paramedics as parents but they would never tell me the grit and grind of the streets, I am glad I was able to read this book as I was studying to take my own first steps into the world of Emergency medicine

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2005

    Great read

    I am currently and emt-b student after reading this book i feel ive made the right choice. Truely inspiring

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2004

    An amazing book!

    This book is an amazing look into the world of paramedics. Canning takes the reader from his desk in Washington D.C. to his EMT-B trainting and on to the streets and EMT-P training.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    Finally a medic that has written what the rest of us feel!!!!

    Mr. Canning has been able to show what it is really like to be a street medic. Many of his interactions with the patients and families made me recall some of my calls. As with him some were happy and some were sad. If you are thinking of starting a career in EMS or have been in it for years this book is well worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    Living an EMS Life

    This book is wonderful at illustrating the emotional rollercoaster of living an EMS life. It is the career story of one person as he goes from writing speeches for a senator-turned-governor from a part-time minimum wage making EMT-B to a full-time EMT-P. As such, I find that this book serves as a good career road map for new paramedics and EMTs. It shows them that they arent the first person to ever have to work amidst red tape as well as giving them a personalized picture of how one man deals with the ghosts and the nightmares. I have recommended it to many of students and new employees that I have precepted and I have been thanked numerous times for opening that door for them. Canning is an excellent writer and has a gift, not only for putting his emotions on paper, but for making you feel them as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2001

    Through the eyes of medicine

    Very well written , and a truly inspiring story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    Paramedic's story

    This book is a captivating look at one mans' desicion to change his life. The stories of joy, loss, and unexplainable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2000

    Truth about the profession

    Peter Canning writes a spellbinding chronicle of the EMS profession. From the part about shocking a live patient, to the ho hum transports, the book tells the truth about the profession. Can't wait for the next one to come out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    If you are interested in the field, you'll love the book.

    This first-hand account is just as heart-pounding as watching a Trauma show on TV. I find that Mr. Canning is a wonderful author as he puts you right into the action! A great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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