Everyone turns and looks when an ambulance screams by, lights flashing and siren blaring. If you’ve watched an ambulance go by in Sydney—or Johannesburg, Skopje, London, Peshawar or any number of other places— Benjamin Gilmour might just have been on board. Gilmour has had an unusual career. Rather than remain a paramedic in Sydney, he’s taken his skills and applied them in ambulance services all over the world, from a poor volunteer service in Pakistan to a private service for London’s exclusive Harley Street clinics and all points in between. The end result is a startling exercise in contrasts, at times quite graphic and a little gory, but consistently a reminder of how lucky we are to have the ambulance service we have in Australia. Gilmour doesn’t shy away from technical terms and readers do not, as a general rule, get an explanation of what tachycardia and other more medical field-specific words mean, but for readers who are prepared to either get out the dictionary or just let it slide, there’s never a loss of enjoyment and interest.
Eliza Metcalfe is a freelance writer and editor and former assistant editor of Bookseller+Publisher. This review first appeared in the October issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.