I certainly did not start out a skeptic and I would guess that almost nobody does. In my formative years I was as goofily naïve as anybody:
- I stood convinced that health care was fairly insulated from petty infighting so prevalent in less meaningful professions.
- I was certain that saving lives was the highest of its priorities.
- I took for granted that scientific integrity was somehow a given; that there were too many safeguards to allow fraudulent research to harm patients.
- I believed physicians were held to the loftiest of discipline standards.
- I was sure the most prolific drug profiteers on the planet were tucked away in jungle hideouts.
And it was revolting – quite viscerally painful – to concede that not a single one of those beliefs happens to be true.
So what is the purpose of the Paramedic Heretic? Simple. It is time for somebody in my field of expertise to shout “gardyloo!” from the belfry. It is time that you – health care’s ultimate consumer – gain the perspective of just how distorted our corner of medicine has become. The goal here is entirely uncomplicated. You will almost certainly have need to call 911 for medical help at some point in your life, so you might want to read up, because we just don’t think like you do. Before this book is finished you will know exactly how we think, which might come in handy on your next personal emergency.
What you have here is a veteran medic’s unvarnished 30-year critique. A professional bloodline; a pilgrimage to heresy. If you are wise beyond your years, you will become a heretic, too. At the very least, when you put this book down you will know – as the marvelous Paul Harvey used to say – “The rest of the story.”
Make no mistake. Much of what goes on within the monastic world of medicine is brainsick beyond belief, fashioned in part by some rather ignoble dynamics. For brevity, we call these the Immutable Laws.
You won’t be hearing about the Immutable Laws on the network news. You will not absorb them from the internet. If you happen to have medical friends it is unlikely they will fess up, either. In fact, we in EMS don’t even admit the Immutable Laws exist.
Time for the cleansing light of day.
Oh, and one more thing? We always spell Paramedic with a capital ‘P’. We think we’ve earned it.
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