Paramedic

Paul D. Shapiro, Author, Mary B. Shapiro, With Bantam Books $4.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-29383-8
In this account of his years as a paramedic Shapiro freely admits that he is an excitement junkie. The adrenaline of the life-and-death struggle is his fix, and readers of his and his sister's first book will be hooked as well. Although the author details much of his life, from his initial exposure to paramedic work while in college through his girlfriend's death from cancer, he always returns to trauma in the streets of New York. His material could be overbearing or depressing, but Shapiro leavens the mix with the black humor and camaraderie that sustain paramedics as they rush from stabbings to births, ambulances on fire and suicides on the Great Lawn of Central Park. One incident involves a heart attack in the office of a fancy but incompetent doctor who allows the patient to die; in another, a wife, after an argument with her husband, takes a packet of suicide pills that the couple had prepared in anticipation of some dreaded occurrence. Shapiro neatly and unobtrusively allows the events to carry the narrative. While saving lives is his greatest high, he understands that death often wins: ``You spend a lot of time on losing causes. . . . It's part of the job.''p. 6 (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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