Review: Can You Hear Me? By Jake Jones

Title: Can You Hear Me? A Paramedic’s Encounters with Life and Death

Author: Jake Jones

Published: February 6th 2020, Quercus UK

Status: Read February 2020, courtesy Quercus/Netgalley

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My Thoughts:

“Every occupation carries its own mythology. This one has the sparkle of excitement, but don’t be dazzled. Not all flashing lights mean there’s a disco going on.”

In Can You Hear Me?, Jake Jones (writing under a pseudonym) draws on his decade of experience as a paramedic in the UK to share the reality of what he encounters each day (and night) when he dons his green uniform.

The stories are told with compassion and humour, representing the mundane and miraculous, the triumphs and tragedies. Jones effortlessly evokes emotion as he relates tussling with an uncooperative drug addict, helping an ill man into clean pyjama’s, kneeling beside a man without a pulse, and cradling a newborn in his arms.

Jones also writes of the physical and emotional stress he (and his colleagues) experience, and must learn to manage, to avoid burn-out. I found some of his musings a little tedious, interrupting the flow of the narrative, but I appreciated his honesty. Of particular note are the author’s comments about the increasing strain placed on the ambulance service caused in large part by non-emergent calls, including those which require mental health, rather than medical, intervention.

Can You Hear Me? is an interesting and thought-provoking memoir exposing the challenges of paramedic work.

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Available from Quercus UK

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