Sunday, April 19, 2015

C.B. Garris, Author of PARAMEDIC: M.O.S.

paramedic book, ems book, paramedic memoir, c.b. garris

Today we are interviewing C.B. Garris about PARAMEDIC: M.O.S., a non-fiction look at the front lines of Emergency Medical Services in New York City.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is C.B. Garris and I am an EMS Paramedic/First Responder, Firefighter and Emergency Management Specialist; and a former member of NYC EMS {the New York City Emergency Medical Service; now entitled FDNY-EMS}. A New York City native, I served as an Assistant Watch Commander/Senior Emergency Management Specialist and Operations Resource Coordinator in the 9-1-1 Command and Control Division, coordinating tactical operations. I was the EMS logistical resource coordinator for the original terrorist bombing attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, an Instructor of Emergency Medicine at the UCLA Medical Center/Center for Prehospital Care, an Emergency Management/Dive Rescue Coordinator to the motion picture industry, and I am a clinical regulatory/biomedical specialist in emergency medicine, tactical/urban combat medicine and advanced resuscitation.
Describe your book in a few sentences.
PARAMEDIC: M.O.S. is a profound and deeply personal look into the experiences on the front lines of Emergency Medical Services in New York City.  Not only do EMT’s and Paramedics experience the highs and lows of constant life and death exposure the constant intensity of patients revived or lost due to traumatic accidents, or those medically compromised at scenes before they arrive; but they are also forced to deal with coworkers who are sometimes ineffective, self-serving, uncaring, as well as bureaucratic red-tape, politics and often personal tragedy within their own fraternal public safety family.   These incidents rarely, if ever, get reported in the general media; yet these selfless rescuers of the city’s citizens push forward and return to their work every day and night. 

Who do you think would most appreciate PARAMEDICS: M.O.S.

Most certainly public safety professionals but even more, the  general population who seeks to understand the profession and what it is like to be a rescuer.  Thus, the book is scoped for truly everyone. 

What inspired you to write a book about the involvement of Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in Emergency Medical Services?

Having been apart of this field for so long, and having been the logistical resource coordinator for NYC EMS during the first bombing attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, I was extremely disappointed how the EMT's and Paramedics who suffered on 9/11 never received any true attention.  They were consistently referred to as "emergency workers", while other rescuers were identified by their proper title. It felt as though EMT's and Paramedic's just didn't matter, as though it wasn't important to those that could, to identify them and give them respect for saving lives and also suffering in the tragedy.

In your book, you touch upon the media’s failure to recognize the role of the EMT/Paramedic in rescue efforts. Why do you think the media does this?
I don't think it's because of the media, I think it is actually more societal.  When people call 9-1-1, they have the rightful expectation that help will arrive.  We easily identify the firefighters or police officers, but EMT's and Paramedics have been cast aside.  Some of this is because of politics at the local community level not wanting to recognize EMS as a true, independent emergency service, as has been the case for many, many decades.  There are many complexities as to why EMS has very often been ostracized instead of appreciated.  I think media essentially grasps the pulse of what the populous expresses, and since there has widely been a lack of recognition in general society; so goes the lack of representation in the media.  I think mainly the specifics, the training and the workings of our insular profession are widely overlooked.  I think if the general public had a better understanding of what the capabilities are of EMT's and Paramedics, and the service they provide; I think that there would be a much greater spotlight on these great rescuers.  At the same time, it is also up to us, the EMT's and Paramedics, to work in a professional manner and earn and maintain that respect.  It is definitely a two-way street. 

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions the public has about EMTs/Paramedics?
Some of the biggest misconceptions include that the public thinks that EMT's/Paramedics are uneducated, callous, lazy, that they like racing with lights and sirens just for the fun of it, that when they see an ambulance or other EMS vehicle coming up behind them or towards them, that it really isn't an emergency.  Also that when EMT's and Paramedics go to treat patients with highly advanced care, that they don't really know what they are doing, that they aren't serious or highly-trained also.

How has the EMT/Paramedic community responded to PARAMEDIC:M.O.S.?

I have been extremely fortunate and humbled by the outpouring of intense elation from the EMS community.  As the book reviews on amazon and other sites will reflect, my peers have made it clear to me that they truly appreciate the angle which I created the book on, to represent us in a way that truly represents us and "humanizes" us to the public.  Some have shared that my book made them become a better medic and even more, a better person.  Some have said my book changed their life and others stated that for they first time, they felt visible to everyone else.  I have been fortunate to receive many five star reviews from the EMS Community. 

What do you hope people will get from reading your book?
I want readers to take away from this book a new-found respect for EMT's and Paramedics everywhere and hopefully humanity in general.  I hope they will pay more attention to these rescuers now and realize that a lot of work goes int o what they do daily.  I also hope that they will find different ways to appreciate their respective partner and mate in their own life, through the connective lines in this book between the characters.  If they find a way to care more deeply for others or a new way to connect to those they care about and love; even better.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I am working on a number of other projects, the subject matter I am keeping close to my vest until it is time to release it.  However I can say that the new material I am working on is also public safety related.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I hope that people will take the time to read it to know about not only the profession, but about the side that they don't see of first responders and how their lives can be affected by the things they see  and do. 

More Information
Visit the author's website
Buy PARAMEDIC: M.O.S. on Amazon
Buy PARAMEDIC: M.O.S. on the publisher's website

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