Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions

Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions

by K. Patrick McDonald


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At one point during our lunch the famous Sonny Bono asked, "So in other words, we've reached a point where a rescuer can't say 'screw the rules' and just do the right thing?"

Not in other words, Sonny. Those are the perfect words.

Immutable Law #2

Saving lives is not our priority.

Following our policies is our priority.

Protecting ourselves comes next. Avoiding lawsuits comes third. You come somewhere after that.

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I was not even out of school before I witnessed my first doctor commit murder. It would not be my last - Lord, no - but I can recall that night as vividly as though it happened last week. Few medics forget their first physician homicide.

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The ugly truth is some of the most macho medics on the planet turn into complete lollipops in the presence of an arrogant, incompetent physician. No matter how you parse it, that is professional cowardice.

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K. Patrick McDonald is a graduate of UCSD La Jolla School of Medicine original Advanced Field Medicine program. He was appointed the first EMS Supervisor for the City of San Diego under Mayor (and then Governor) Pete Wilson's administration. He created one of the nation's first STAR (Special Trauma & Rescue) Teams and co-authored the San Diego City Disaster Preparedness Plan. He was a co-author of the National Waterpark Lifeguard Training Manual. He has acted as consultant to the U.S. Secret Service in Presidential Protection matters. He writes, "After 30 years of occasionally saving lives, I learned that by writing and speaking, I can do more good for more citizens, while tolerating far fewer medical-political snollygosters." (For more on this fascinating subject, visit

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781457531804
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Publication date: 12/08/2014
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 1,010,480
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

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Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MaxHarryWeilMD More than 1 year ago
As a young practitioner I was among a small group of doctors in the 1950s to recognize that caring for our sickest patients required a change in the way care was delivered. More than anything else, this required a change in our thinking. Not all of my colleagues agreed. The author here - I suspect - is not far astray when he submits there need to be changes in the way pre-hospital care is delivered, too. And it is fair to surmise that not all of his colleagues will agree, either. In my view, Mr. McDonald's 30-year career success - much of it right here in the Coachella Valley of California, by the way - lays ample foundation for him to turn his stethoscope onto those aspects of health care in serious need of attention. His research alone causes me to share his dismay, particularly his findings of widespread physician misbehavior. It is a sad state of affairs that Paramedics might - even for an instant - distrust the very caregivers they turn their patients over to. I am a doctor, after all, and I don't like this one bit. I confess this matter eluded me for an entire career, and I regret it. With healthcare front and center in today's headlines, Mr. McDonald's voice is an important one, now more than ever. He reveals a number of disturbing realities. We might want to pay close attention to what this gentleman has to say.