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Title: BLS Case Studies in Emergency Care
Author: Daniel Limmer, AS, EMT-P
Publisher: Pearson Education, Inc.
Relevance: BLS Case Studies in Emergency Care is an excellent book for reporters, photojournalists and especially production crew members as an adjunct to handling many medical situations that may occur away from the "modcons" of today's medically plugged in society.
Review: No journalist, photographer or ENG crew member wants to think he or she is putting his or her life on the line for a story, but breezing through the news articles about getting injured, maimed and killed while on assignment from sources such as this very Web site, Reporters Without Borders or the Committee to Protect Journalists will dissuade you of this prosaic notion.
In fact, journalists are often hurt or killed while getting a story and in recent years, have seen themselves being targeted for retribution by criminal gangs, corrupt police and, of course, government officials who would rather selectively stifle news reporting. It is for this reason that we recommend any journalist who works in the field take a basic first aid and CPR course and update their certification on a regular basis. Before heading out in areas that are known to be war torn, many news organizations will send their correspondents to a form of "war survival school" in which active or retired military personnel will explain and demonstrate to neophytes what to expect "in country".
BLS Case Studies in Emergency Care is primarily aimed at active paramedics, first responders and students learning these skills. The author is an experienced EMT who has several other books to his credit. The book presents 44 "real life" cases outlined in a form in which an ambulance crew is dispatched on an emergency run.
Each case is divided into several sections. At the beginning, the case is introduced with three key objectives that the student must learn from this particular case. One objective from Case 1 - My Mother Is Gone, for example, is listing the four signs of obvious death while another is to describe the involvement with medical care when dealing with an obvious death.
Importantly, the book introduces a scenario-based model where the dispatchers run information is briefly summarized and the reader is asked to think things through on a timeline. Patient outcome/pathophysiology is also explained for each case and followed up by an evaluation section in which readers are asked further questions based on the case. Nicely, readers can see the answers in the appendix at the back of the book.
BLS Case Studies in Emergency Care will not turn its readers into paramedics and will certainly not provide enough medical information for you to qualify for your MD designation. It will, however, it can help raise the standard of your basic first aid training to the next level. Just as reading about taking pictures can never replace the actual experience of shooting still frames or video, so too will a book about case-based emergency medical treatment not make you into a paramedic.
On the flipside, however, since many reporters and correspondents face dangers that ordinary civilians tend to avoid - this underscores the seeming paradox of otherwise sane people running towards a disaster. Photographers and videographers often face the same horrors of a disaster scene as do first responders and EMTs. Clearly, the information presented in the book not only can help readers hone their own emergency treatment skills, it can also prepare them for the various types of gruesome sights they may see while on duty.
Again, this is invaluable as many sights, even in a civilian context, can be shocking. In war zones, journalists can experience the same post-traumatic stress syndrome ("PTSS") as combatants and involved civilians. This dirty little secret may help to explain the high incidents of burnout with war correspondents and even those posted to the city desk chasing ambulances.
Overall: BLS Case Studies in Emergency Care is recommended for anyone who wants to increase their insight into what paramedics and other first responders face every day. Not only can it help you become a better team member for news gathering, but it's possible the book may even save your life. Finally, the book is very recommended reading for those photographers or videographers who have recently joined an active city desk and need to prepare for mandated ride-alongs and eventual assignments. Recommended.
End of Review
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