I recall first meeting the author, back in the early years of the San Diego EMS system. “Paramedics” were a new species then and I’d never met one. I was sitting at my desk at the television station one morning when he walked into my office and asked me point blank how much I knew about the “strain of insanity” in rescue politics. He wore an impeccable white uniform shirt with a gold nametag; a patch on each shoulder and an intense expression. I told him I had very little time to discuss much of anything at the moment, but if he made an appointment we could probably chat someday. He sat down across from me anyway, leaned forward in his seat, and proceeded to school me on a fascinating subject about which I knew absolutely nothing.
The extent of my ignorance – and the depth of his passion – captivated me enough that an hour later he was still talking and I sat scribbling notes like a kid in a classroom. I was so intrigued that I invited him to do a series of commentaries at the end of our newscasts and he agreed. We never regretted it.
Patrick McDonald knew what he was talking about then and he is wiser now. He writes books these days and for my money, we are immensely better for it.
As a career newsman I’ve always had a keen interest in pertinent social issues. And I cannot think of a more pressing issue of our time than the dangers lurking in U.S. health care. After all, at some point we are all patients, and Patrick does an admirable job of arming us with an oft-forgotten weapon: logic.
So read what he says. Consider how it impacts your family. He will make you smarter, as he has surely made me. And don’t be surprised if what you learn from him saves your life someday.
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