I had an email the other day from those nice folks at The Book Depository and in it was a link to a free e-copy of Tom Reynold's new book. Tom is an EMT working in London, and More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea is the second compilation of posts from his blog relating his experiences of being an ambulanceman in inner city London.
The stories in More Sweat... are funny, sad, infuriating and heartbreaking in equal measure, but however you look at it, the book makes for a great read. Of particular poignancy are the recurring themes of the patchy, and in some cases downright poor care of the elderly in modern-day Britain, and how the overstretched paramedics sometimes find themselves misused.
Tom also delivers a (justifiably) biting social commentary on those members of the Great British public who consider ambulances as nothing more than big yellow taxis with flashing lights on top.
I have the utmost respect for the UK ambulance services and their paramedics, technicians and other ambulance personnel - IMO they're overworked, underpaid, and frankly treated like cr*p by some sections of society.
As an aside, the only time this pen-thusiast has ever been on the receiving end of the tender ministrations of my local ambulance service was some years ago when, in the throes of a violent bout of something that had me leaking explosively from both ends (sorry!), the lovely people at NHS Direct decided to call me an ambulance. I didn't think I necessarily needed one, and reckoned I'd be OK in the morning, but they insisted.
The crew was terrific and insisted on running me down to A&E at the local hospital despite me saying I felt I was wasting their time. I felt guilty taking an emergency ambulance away from properly sick people who really needed it. There again, I had suffered a few chest pains and I wasn't the one who actually called them so I try not to feel too bad about it; and I did thank the ambulance crew afterwards.
I recommend everyone should read this book, especially if you're a UK resident; you might just learn something. If you enjoy the free e-version, buy a paper copy - I know I have.
At a Glance:
Title: More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea
Author: Tom Reynolds
Price: paperback rrp £12.99 (£7.78 at The Book Depository)
Available From: paper version The Book Depository, e-book from here, or here.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5