A Memoir of an Air Ambulance Doctor
When you work as part of an advanced air ambulance medical crew, every day is different. At MedFlight911, we know how dramatic this career can be – it's exhilarating and nerve-wracking, and there's rarely a dull moment. But few people outside of our industry really know what's it's like to work on an air medical transport; perhaps they have a vague idea of what we do, but that's probably based on what they've seen in movies or on TV, not real life.
That's why we were excited when we heard about Tony Bleetman's new memoir You Can't Park There: The Highs and Lows of an Air Ambulance Doctor. It's the first-ever book that gives an inside view of what it's really like to work as part of an air ambulance crew. We hope it helps to broaden awareness of the hard work that every member of an advanced air ambulance crew does on a daily basis.
For the past 10 years, Bleetman (a former medic with the Israeli army) has worked as a volunteer helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) physician in England. The work Bleetman does is a little different than what we do at MedFlight911, since he flies on rotor-wing (or helicopter) air ambulance flights, while we are a fixed-wing air ambulance provider. But nevertheless we can relate to much of Bleetman's memoir.
Bleetman starts out by recounting how he was able to bring his twin childhood interests in medicine and flight together by becoming an air ambulance doctor. But he quickly segues into a no-holds-barred, front-row perspective on what it's like to respond to scenes of severe trauma. He talks about the tricky decisions he has to make as an HEMS doctor, including knowing when it's possible to save a patient and when even the most heroic efforts will inevitably fail. And he describes some pretty amazing situations, such as being part of the team that landed a helicopter on a busy highway in order to respond to a multi-vehicle accident.
In another incident, a woman sustained such severe injuries in a car accident that Bleetman and the paramedic he was working with had to cut open her chest to ventilate her lung. She barely made it through the air ambulance trip to the hospital, but after a marathon surgery, she ultimately survived. The actions of Bleetman and his colleague likely saved the woman's life, and they were awarded Britain's National Life Saver Award for their efforts.
All in all, Bleetman offers a fascinating look at the realities of working as an air ambulance doctor. Anyone interested in air medical transport is likely to find this book especially compelling. Now, we just need to find someone at MedFlight911 who can tell all of our stories!