Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Canning and "The Bug"
on August 6, 2005
Peter Canning once worked for Lowell Weicker as a speech writer. Then he got "the bug." I can't think of a better way to describe that sense of duty and commitment that seems to possess people who are underpaid, overworked, and have to deal with the worst in our society.
Like most "bugs," this bug changes over time. Canning makes the switch from a high paying job to EMS out of a sense of wanting to help. I've known others like him. One fellow I know made the switch from electrician to paramedic even though it cost him (and his family) a third of his salary.
In the beginning is the desire of the new EMT or paramedic to earn the respect of others in his profession. Canning was so proud as he marched into an operating room and established an airway with doctors looking on. I've known those feelings.
The bug metamorphasizes. EMS people often have to deal with the poor in our society. This means a call from someone who has no health insurance and who has to depend upon an ambulance trip to an ER for normal health care.
Or this means the poor in spirit who find nothing productive to do with their lives. For example this includes the elderly woman who calls EMS due to shortness of breath, and then she wants a cigarette.
After a while in EMS you see plenty of folks whose lives could not be saved. The hardest is the feeling of "if I had been there" or "if I had made another decision." Canning writes of those feelings. The bug has changed again from the time Canning was so proud to march into an operating room and establish an airway.
Sometimes EMS burns people out. Canning was not one of them. This book is just the first that he wrote about his EMS experiences.