As far as emergency medicine is concerned, the Paramedics and Doctors screaming over our heads in Helimed 999, the Air Ambulance must have the most glamorous, exciting job in the world, ever! Tony Bleetman is the first Air Ambulance Doctor to tell us how it really is. The highs, the lows, the flying by the seat of the pants. Bucking trends and saving lives.
Tony Bleetman had, as a child, two dreams. To become a pilot, and to become a doctor. He achieved both; the latter thanks to the Israeli Defence Forces. After returning to the UK he became a BASICS Doctor, dashing to incidents in his old battered car with a blue flashing light and eventually becoming a consultant in Emergency Medicine, and Air Ambulance Doctor in his spare time.
The traditional Air Ambulance is there when you absolutely positively have to get someone to hospital fast. Helimed 999 is there when you absolutely positively have to get the Doctor to someone fast. Bringing the Doctor (unpaid volunteer Doctor no less) to the casualty rather than the casualty to the Doctor means that more lives will be saved. And saved many are, whether it is at a bad road accident, a heart attack victim at the Golf Club or a woman in the tight confines or a Narrow Boat. And there are challenges at every turn. From scrounging kit to set up their Operations Room (and scrounging the room as well), to going cap-in-hand to seek out sponsors to keep their expensive helicopter in the air. Cutting a chest open in the middle of a street, killing chickens on an allotment or being pelted by golf balls whilst dealing with a heart attack, schmoosing with the PM, and becoming reality TV stars are all run of the mill stuff, not forgetting zooming around the local countryside in a Fast Response Car at the speed of light.
Of course there are rivalries. Being the new kids on the block, and offering more than anyone they ruffle a few feathers amongst their traditional air and road ambulances, and the RAF Search and Rescue, winding up the police, getting into slagging matches with the Fire Service and landing in the middle of a maximum security prison, there are plenty of comments about the new Ďcoyboysí. Fortunately a station manager who would do well in the Diplomatic Cops helps them out of a few sticky situations.
As we know, Air Ambulances in the UK are all run as charities. They are not the cheapest venture in the world either, so we are also introduced to the fine art of scrounging, begging and prostrating yourself for a buck or two. And itís amazing what the crew of Helimed 999 will do to earn funds. Rattling tins, shaking hands and Iron Man competitions are all in a dayís work for this crew.
You Canít Park There is in turns hilariously funny Ė and I mean laugh out loud and wake up your partner sleeping next to you funny, nail biting, gritty and heart warming. You canít fail to marvel at the gung-ho attitude to flying, life saving and life living. If you have the slightest interest in Emergency Medicine then you will enjoy this book, if you have spent any time in the Emergency Services or Armed Forces you will love the humour.
4 1/2 Winos from me.
You Canít Park There! by Tony Bleetman published by Ebury Press
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