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Into the Breach: A Year of Life and Death with EMS Hardcover – November 1, 2002
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Karam brings her skills as a journalist and her insider knowledge as an emergency medical technician (EMT) to this compelling look at one year in the operation of the Emergency Medical Service teams in Newark, New Jersey. The gritty urban environment presents a range of crises from gang shootings to crack-house mothers in labor, from a senseless bureaucracy to the lack of adequate equipment. Karam takes the reader along on emergency calls, detailing human dramas of violence and disorder that require a heroic response. Karam also recounts the physical and emotional demands on EMT workers, who are sometimes traumatized by their work, tend to develop an insularity that negatively affects their family relationships, and use humor to ease the tension. She details how EMT training and operations have evolved, the increasing pressure to respond to the crises wrought by the mayhem of modern urban life, and how the lack of adequate social services translates into medical emergencies. A fascinating book that tracks how urban social trends affect medical issues. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Having been there I can relate to what this nurse is saying. EMS is training. It's glorified. It's put down. It's hard work. It's too long hours. It's a lotta things I hate to talk about. Karam writes about them, the good and the bad. Not all of my experiences are the same as what she wrote about. Around here 12 hour shifts are rare there is no way that one could get a patient to the hospital every 30 minutes. But Karam wrote about Newark, NJ.
This job attracts people. Read Karam's book. The long hours and the relatively low pay can take a toll on your family life. Recently I had a paramedic tell me that he had not been home for eleven days. Any glory that there is in the job wears off the first time you get get called in on the carpet to explain something.
So if you read Karam's book, you'll get a taste of what it's like. And it's not just a year of life and death. It's a career.
First of all this is life in Newark EMS, she showed you the worst parts, and left out the BS. Obviously an attempt to impress the reader. The writer does not understand that without the BS jobs, the men and women who are professional urban EMS providers would have no down time, no time to get away from the horror that is at times their jobs. The jobs she wrote about all happened but she didn't right the mundane that one of the other reviews mentioned.
Irreverant humor happens in all of the human services, cops joke about the bodies in a crime scene, fireman are the ones who coined the term crispy critter, doctors and nurses laugh while coding a patient. Yes it does insulate them, that is why they do it. Once again Karam neglected to write about the times that the men and women of Newark EMS held the hand of the dying patient, or broke down in tears because too many people died that week, she really didn't show the whole image of the men and women.
Yes some of the people she choose to highlight maybe aren't the most stable or healthy, maybe they drink too much, but they are in the minority. Karam spoke of a man who worked nights, and on his days off he would spend time fishing with his kids. She made him out to be abnormal in the world of Urban EMS. Again this is Karam trying to glorify being unstable because of the job. Most of the men and women who work there have stable healthy home lives. They are able to come home and turn work off, and enjoy being with their kids.
Regarding the views of University ER nurses in the books, no the nurses in the er are not uncaring unfeeling bitches. Yes many of EMS providers feel that they are. If you didn't love what you do you would not work in the ER or in the streets of Newark.
To sum it up, Karam gave you a glimpse of the job, but not a full representation.
It is a balanced, honest presentation of the good, the bad and the not so pretty life at UMDNJ EMS. Everybody knows about the police and fire departments. Read about the men and women who also do a job, a job people do not like to think or talk about. A job that makes even the cops and firemen say 'I could never do that...'
BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT NOW. It is one of the best you will ever read.