Saturday, 23 March 2013

You Can't Park There, by Tony Bleetman. Book revue

I'm very glad I didn't attempt to catch a train this morning, because what with the bus service laid on to bypass the bent railway lines, I doubt whether I would have reached my destination at all. We woke up to a covering of snow again, and it sounds like most of the country is paralysed according to the traffic reports on the radio. Best place to stay is indoors. I'm also managing with very little heating, because they say the country is going to run out of gas pretty soon, so rather than being greedy, I'll leave it switched off so there is enough to go around. I am well wrapped up, with a hot water bottle stuffed down my trousers, and a wooly hat on my head, so do not worry.
I've just finished this book. It's an entertaining read, which made me laugh, but it's also very sad. If you can stand the blood and guts associated with traumatic life and death accidents, then you might like it. You need a strong stomach though, there is no holds barred when it comes to describing the opening up the chest of a stab victim, to try and plug the wound in the heart. It certainly was an eye opener for me. I didn't realise that so much could be done to bring a person back from the brink of death. Air ambulance doctors are of the highest calibre when it comes to saving lives.

Tony Bleetman is the doctor, he also pilots his own light aircraft, which he flies for pleasure. The book is full of stories of the callouts he has undertaken, all as a volunteer, as the Air Ambulance is a charity. His writing tells it like it is, it is down to earth, lots of swearing in a comical way which shows his human side, there is blood, mud, snot, and grot. He has operated on patients at the scene of an accident and and brought them back from death, but sometimes he loses them.
I'm going to include a little bit about the author here, taken from his literary agent's web site.
Tony Bleetman is a consultant in Emergency Medicine and an air ambulance doctor.
He grew up in London and went to live in Israel at the age of 17. After medical school he served in the Israeli Defence Forces as a soldier, a trainee helicopter pilot and finished his service as a military doctor in the anti-terrorist unit.
In 1991, having tired of Middle East politics, he returned to the UK and embarked on his career in Emergency Medicine. Throughout his career, he has been active as a volunteer doctor, responding for the ambulance service to offer advanced medical assistance at difficult scenes. He joined his first air ambulance unit in 2003 and went on to become the medical lead for three air ambulances in the West Midlands. He left this role in 2008 and continues to fly as a doctor with a new air ambulance unit in Bristol.
This book talks a lot about flying helicopters, all very interesting. The places they have to land, virtually anywhere where there is a flat surface free from overhead obstacles, the different emergencies that they attend, the reception they get when they arrive, sometimes hostile, and the fight to save lives using the drugs and equipment which they carry with them. I didn't know much about the work before I read this, but now I know it's not just a case of landing, strapping the patient into a cradle, and rushing them into hospital. The treatment they administer at the scene is literally a case of life or death. There is lots of, 'on the edge of your seat', drama.
I couldn't find a video with Tony in it, but this is pretty interesting. It has been made as an appeal. Air Ambulance relies entirely on donations, whether it be from giant corporations or private individuals.

If you find real life drama more fascinating than the made up stuff, you'll like this book. I recomend it.
Toodle pip.


  1. That sounds right up my dads street. One Christmas present on the list. Too gory for me!

  2. I'd love that book!
    Jane x
    PS Stay warm

  3. Glad you are keeping safe and like this book review

  4. I've just begun listening to an audiobook that also has a medical theme: Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder, about a medical clinic Dr Paul Farmer set up in Haiti in the 1980s. I can only listen in my car, and since I am driving very seldom these days, the 8 cassette tapes may last me for a loooong time! Bought the audiobook for $2 at a hospice shop :)

  5. Not much snow here today, but more promised tomorrow. We're well prepared if the gas does get rationed. Instead of central heating, if it gets really cold, we can use our small halogen heater which is cheap to run. Plus I can forget about using my gas cooker and use either my microwave or slow cooker so we won't starve.

  6. Gosh, you guys are getting really bad weather! Thanks for that review