Book Review: A Paramedic’s Diary Life & Death on the Streets by Stuart Gray

Sorry for the lack of reviews. Been busy with life and actually reading books to be able to review them.

A Paramedic‘s Diary is written by Stuart Gray about his life as paramedic in London and is based upon his Blogspot blog (http://theparamedicsdiary.blogspot.co.uk/). In it, he describes various calls he has attended in a FRU car (Fast Response Unit) and as part of a two-man crew on ambulance, including his role on the day of the 7/7 attacks, time wasters and attention seekers, the stresses and strains placed on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and discusses the sometimes quite frankly alarming attitudes of members of the public towards the emergency services, both verbally and their driving skills.

This book is very reminiscent of Sirens by Tom Reynolds (AKA Blood, Sweat and tea (2006) and More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea (2009)) however where Reynolds had me crying with laughter from page to page, this book has more of a serious tone however it is still funny and reminds readers just how precious life is as well as giving an insight to the London Ambulance Service. (It did also left me wondering if Reynolds and Gray actually knew each other).

I did enjoy it and some of the stories made me want to cry, especially the one about the elderly lady who had spent her life in the home she had bought with her RAF husband who died during the war and never remarried because her heart belonged to him. Gray was helping move the lady from her home to a hospice and it was possibly the very last time the lady would ever see her home.

At times, especially the first chapter, it seems as if Gray is ranting and complaining and it is annoying and could turn readers away. Gray also explains terms he uses in little boxes in among the actual text and this can be distracting and possibly better put in a glossary format like in Sirens. However, once past these two slight issues, the book is very readable and let’s a reader be absorbed into the stories and experiences Gray tells.

I did like this book (though I do prefer Sirens) and it is obviously written by someone who genuinely loves his job and just wants to tell others about it. It also gives a real insight into the NHS and some of the problems it faces. For anyone interested in these sorts of books, I would definitely recommend it.

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