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Peter Canning

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Peter Canning has been a full-time paramedic in the Greater Hartford area since January of 1995. His first book Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine details his journey from speechwriter for the Governor of Connecticut to caregiver on the city streets. Rescue 471: A Paramedic's Stories is the sequel.

A graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, Canning attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Virginia. He has worked many jobs in his life: tennis instructor, aide to United States Senator, taxi driver, meatpacker, line cook, telephone solicitor, book and movie reviewer, factory worker, health department administrator, speechwriter and political campaign director before finding his place in life as a paramedic. Peter Canning is the author of Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine.

According to the book description of Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine, “In this unforgettable, dramatic account of one man's experience as an EMT, Peter Canning relives the nerve-racking seconds that can mean the difference between a patient's death and survival, as Canning struggles to make the right call, dispense the right medication, or keep a patient's heart beating long enough to reach the hospital. As Canning tells his graphic, gripping war stories--of the lives he saved and lost; of the fear, the nightmares, and the constant adrenaline-pumping thrill of action--we come away with an unforgettable portrait of what it means to be a hero.”

Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine
Peter Canning  More Info

Kirkus Reviews said of Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine, “Medical adventures and introspective musings by a paramedic learning the ropes in Hartford, Conn. Canning is not your typical paramedic, if there is such a creature. His background includes 12 years of service in Washington, D.C., with Senator Lowell Weicker and later in Hartford when newly elected Governor Weicker appointed him to the state health department. Thus Canning, whose daily life centers on the nitty-gritty of emergency medicine, mostly in an inner city, brings to his work the larger perspective of a former policy wonk. He is keenly aware both of society's ills and of government's inability to solve them. There are enough gory details here to satisfy anyone's curiosity about just what it is that paramedics do and how they do it. Some 911 calls are matters of life and death, but others involve minor accidents or trivial incidents; thus the paramedic's day is an unpredictable mix of tension, action, frustration, and boredom, of racing against time and of waiting around. Early in his paramedic career, Canning worries about being good enough, and he writes honestly of his struggles to meet the high standards he has set for himself. Later, as his skills improve and he gains confidence, he frets about the status of his new profession. Canning bridles when patients refer to him as a mere ambulance driver or doctors snub him, and he glows when nurses compliment his work. Paramedics, it seems, don't get much respect. Nevertheless, at the end of a day's work, Canning the paramedic knows for certain that he has made a real difference in someone's world, a reward that Canning the speechwriter never received. A vivid account of emergency medicine that should go a long way toward generating respect for paramedics.”

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