Category Archives: Medics in the News

‘No Units Available’ – America, Get Used to That Answer

This story just happens to be Detroit. But trust us when we reveal this: The cities with the worst human behavior, have THIS to look forward to. The problem does not start or end with EMS response times. The ugliness starts – and ends – the with breakdown of the family.

If your kid is not disciplined early and often at home; if your kid mouths off like an irritated truck driver on steroids; if your kid looks and acts like a street gangsta’ – only a fool blames cops, EMS and firefighters  for not fixing him. Or her. It’s your fault you have a broken kid.

It ain’t rocket science. Ask any farmer.

We are reaping exactly what we sow.

So get used to it America. The inevitable chaos is coming to a town near you.

“Paramedic Heretic” Author Interview

Reading and Writing Addiction


Interview with K. Patrick McDonald, Author of “The Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions”

Reading and Writing Addiction was able to catch up with medical author Patrick McDonald this week. We are excited to share this insightful interview today with our readers:

RAWA: Patrick, when did you first discover that you were a writer?

KPM: When I was a youngster growing up in Indiana, I was sent to a small, very strict private school called St. Michael’s Academy. I was so shy that I found it very hard to even look the Jesuit priests and the Dominican nuns in the face and communicate with them. I was a terrified young fellow who figured out that it was far easier to write down my thoughts, than to utter them out loud. The nuns used to pat me on the shoulder and smile, telling me my notes to them were a joy. That’s when I learned the value of the written word.

RAWA: What is your favorite part of writing?

KPM:  For me, the most enjoyable aspect is going back over a section or chapter and tweaking the sentences; honing the concepts; tossing out superfluous language; substituting good words with great words. I suspect I may well be an editor at heart.

RAWA: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?

KPM:  Because I write mostly non-fiction, the challenges I face are often in the research. I envy the fiction writers who can let their imaginations run wild – stretch deep into the world of make-believe. Because my work is highly critical of the medical profession, I simply cannot afford to stretch very far, or exaggerate. I examine real events and use real names. I do not particularly enjoy putting in the hundreds of hours necessary to be as accurate as a non-fiction critique of healthcare needs to be. But in order to make the book fun to read, I do write non-fiction with the feel of fiction story line.

RAWA: Tell us about your latest release.

KPM:  The short version is that my classmates and I were faced with numerous ugly realities within the world of EMS before we even got out of medical school. One of our most popular lecturers, for example, was a physician convicted of murdering his wife and three children. From that day forward, I started taking notes, just to make sense of what I was experiencing. These were private notes, and it certainly never occurred to me that the appalling misbehavior of professionals around me would continue. But it did and it does, day after day. So one day I pulled out several thousand pages of dusty notes and started the process of assembling them into a cogent string of rescue experiences and how they often went wrong. The result is “The Paramedic Heretic.”

RAWA: How did you come up with the title of your book?

KPM:  Like many authors, I suppose, I bounced title ideas around for quite a while. In the end, I realized that two undeniable facts kept bumping into each other: my profound Catholic upbringing during a time when the word “heretic” was commonly used. And later, as a young adult, benefitting from a highly traditional medical education at UCSD School of Medicine in San Diego. It dawned on me one day that anybody who actually writes a scathing critique of his own profession might rightly be called a “heretic.” I find it disturbing and regrettable that I no longer have faith in much of what bills itself “the finest healthcare in the world.” The fact is, U.S. healthcare generally ranks between 25th and 37th.

RAWA: Who are some of your favorite authors?

KPM:  In fiction, I’ve always admired Anne Rice for marvelous fictive worlds, and Michael Crichton for medical suspense. For reality I love Joseph Wambaugh. My favorite non-fiction book is Marcia Clark’s memoir of the O.J. Simpson case, “Without a Doubt.”

RAWA: What do you think has influenced your writing style the most?

KPM:  Well, as so many of us who love words woven into stories, I’ve read a thousand books. But I think what I’ve tried to emulate are authors who teach you as they entertain you; express thoughts cleanly, while not going off the deep end with the flowery adjectives. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard do this very well in their “Killing” series.

RAWA: As a writer, what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

KPM:  In “Heretic” Doctor Max Harry Weil – considered the ‘father’ of critical care medicine – was impressed enough with the book that he agreed to write the Foreword. I am honored. More than two dozen other physicians were good enough to support what are – at times – extremely critical views of physician misbehavior. I am extremely proud that so many doctors actually support my blistering exposure of their incompetent peers.

RAWA: How did you get published?

KPM:  In 2009 my book “America’s Dumbest Doctors” was put out by Dog Ear Publishing. When they learned I was working on a second one in a similar vein, they contacted me and offered to publish “Heretic.” I spoke with two other publishers, but what truly separates Dog Ear from so many others is their terrific author reps. They work with you every step of the way, and they are available by phone just about every time you call. They simply do exactly what they promise, and the quality of their books is outstanding.

RAWA: Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?

KPM:  Yes. Create the finest end-product you possibly can. In order to do this, you need to read, read, read, and then write, write and write some more. There are some terrific online guides to writing Query letters to agents, and you will need to master this, too. Submit at least a dozen Query letters to appropriate agents. Then submit a dozen more. And while you are awaiting their responses, download a copy of Mark Levine’s, “The Fine Print of Self Publishing.” If and when you have no positive responses from literary agents – and that is a very real possibility – go for the most appropriate choice in Mark Levine’s book you can find. In fact, you may just discover – as I have – that the literary agent path is not the path for you.

Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions by K. Patrick McDonald is available at

“Paramedic Heretic” Announced on “Broadway World” News



"Heretic" meets Broadway
“Heretic” meets Broadway
  1. Patrick McDonald Pens the PARAMEDIC HERETIC”

March 18

6:33 2015

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👤by Books News Desk

  1. Patrick McDonald is proud to announce the release of his book, “Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions.” “Paramedic Heretic” explains the authors’ account of what happens when a 30-year veteran rescuer turns his stethoscope onto the medical profession.


  1. The book trailer for “Paramedic Heretic” was revealed today on DGT Book Promotion news. In addition, McDonald shared his insights in an interview this week on the Reading and Writing Addiction blog about the inspiration for “Paramedic Heretic.” K. Patrick McDonald’s interview can be followed at and the official trailer for “Paramedic Heretic” can be viewed on YouTube.

About the Book:

I was not even out of medical school before I witnessed my first doctor commit murder. It would not be my last – Lord, no – but I can recall that night as vividly as though it happened last week. Few medics forget their first physician homicide.

Praise for “Paramedic Heretic”:

“With health care front and center in today’s headlines, Mr. McDonald’s voice is an important one, now more than ever. He reveals a number of disturbing realities. We might want to pay close attention to what this gentleman has to say.” – Dr. Max Harry Weil, Founder, Weil Institute of Critical Care Medicine

About The Author :

K. Patrick McDonald is a graduate of UCSD La Jolla School of Medicine’s original Advanced Field Medicine program. He was appointed the first EMS Supervisor for the City of San Diego under Mayor (and then Governor) Pete Wilson’s administration. He created one of the nation’s first STAR (Special Trauma & Rescue) Teams and co-authored the San Diego City Disaster Preparedness Plan. He was a co-author of the National Waterpark Lifeguard Training Manual. He has acted as consultant to the U.S. Secret Service in Presidential Protection matters. He writes, “After 30 years of occasionally saving lives, I learned that by writing and speaking, I can do more good for more citizens, while tolerating far fewer medical-political snollygosters.”

“Paramedic Heretic” (296 pages, ISBN: 978-1457531804) is available online at AdLibris; Amazon Books; Barnes & Noble; SAXO; WisePress. To learn more about  Patrick McDonald and “Paramedic Heretic” visit: or follow McDonald on Facebook and Twitter.

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PR Urgent Press Release: “Paramedic Heretic”

“Paramedic Heretic” Exposes Curious Conundrums in EMS

The author was not even out of medical school before he witnessed his first doctor commit murder. It would not be his last – Lord, no – but he can recall that night as vividly as though it happened last week. Few medics forget their first physician homicide.


See what a veteran Paramedic has to say
See what a veteran Paramedic has to say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – When K. Patrick McDonald began rescue training in the 1970s, he was among the first paramedics in the nation, filled with zeal to save lives in ways not imagined even a decade before. More than 20,000 911 calls later, however, pride in his profession has eroded. So he turned to his three-decades of note-taking to scribe an imminently readable, jaw-dropping assessment of the power struggles within the cloistered world of rescue – a battle that sometimes has fatal consequences. He also defines what he calls the “Immutable Laws” that reign supreme in the business of saving lives.

McDonald, having experienced the trenches of rescue for more than 30 years, offers story after story in which rules and policy corrupt paramedic efficiency. He details some success stories, but reveals dozens of cases where the consequences of protocol short-circuit rescue efforts. In one fascinating case the author himself nearly lost his medical license because he authorized a non-EMS helicopter to fly out critically injured Girl Scouts in a Palm Springs bus tragedy – until the famous Sonny Bono (who had been on the disaster scene) saved the day. “The Pedigree of a Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions” reveals that time after time, saving lives is not rescue priority. Instead, following policies, ensuring team safety and avoiding lawsuits all trump patients’ lives.

“Heretic” also points out numerous medical myths, such as ambulance sirens saving lives (they don’t); the “Golden Hour” of patient care (one doctor’s silly fantasy); and the futility, in many cases, of CPR. Some of the biggest problem areas, McDonald writes, are mistakes made in prescriptions; wholly unnecessary surgeries and flawed medical records. That paramedics remain mute in the presence of incompetent or criminal physicians, for fear of losing their jobs, is a maddening reality. Saving lives, in the end, has become far more about capitalism and power struggles, than heroism.

Author K. Patrick McDonald knows of what he writes. He was appointed the first EMS supervisor for San Diego city and created one of the country’s first Special Trauma & Rescue teams. McDonald, a graduate of University of California, San Diego School of Medicine original advanced field medicine program, co-wrote the National Waterpark Lifeguard Training Manual. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Secret Service and performed medical services at Super Bowl XLIX.

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