EMS Book Review: “Paramedic of the Heart”

From One Medic to Another: Books are Like Patients & Yours Was DOA From the Start

EMS Chief Don Lundy

EMS Chief Don Lundy

As a 30-year veteran of the ‘mean streets’ as well as an author, we were looking forward to what Chief Don Lundy had to say. Although our career has taken place on the left coast, there is no doubt that an EMS veteran of Charleston County South Carolina ought be be able to offer a book loaded with some truly funny vignettes; some cool leadership insights and perhaps even tiny diamonds of wisdom of which we could all benefit – both inside and outside the world of rescue. After all, for those of us who have labored in the EMS trenches, populating a book-length work with rescue sagas is surprisingly easy. We all have war stories to tell – from the hilarious to the homicidal.

Sorry to say this, Chief: you dropped the ball. As a medical pro, you ought to have chosen to look at your book project as a “patient.” And yours is DOA.

Instead, as other reviewers have correctly pointed out, you lead us all to wonder aloud why an apparently educated EMS professional would produce a body of work chock full of misspellings, poor grammar and woefully week sentence structure. It’s baffling. Very few writers are any good at all at self-editing. Why would you opt not to have a critical mind assess the work before putting it out for the world to see? Editing – like EMS – is a valuable specialty. If you cannot trust the manner in which a book is assembled, why on earth would anybody put any faith at all in the concepts behind the words?

This author got careless in other ways, too. He made the decision to voice vindictiveness toward his own. Now, there is something to be said about being a “whistleblower” in the presence of crime. But the only “crime” we see here is slandering coworkers for fun and sport. Big mistake.

Chief Don Lundy took a chance, rolled the dice and now must deal with the consequences of trashing his own house. The end result – I suspect – will not treat him kindly. I am guessing at some point he will – if he hasn’t already – start to regret the fateful day he sat back and hit the “send” button.

The moral here is simple: book authors are – in many ways – a lot like Paramedics. Consider the end result BEFORE you start treatment.

Primum no nocere, Chief.


Case Update:

Charleston County Government Officials: ‘EMS Director Don Lundy Has Been Fired

Officials in South Carolina say that EMS Chief Don Lundy is no longer employed by the county which had initiated the separation, effective immediately.

“I am shocked and saddened at the action taken today by the county,” Lundy said. “Charleston County EMS has a tremendously talented group of professionals who are awesome in every way. I have always spoken highly of them and will continue to do so. CCEMS has been nationally recognized as an outstanding department and I stand with them as part of that team. I have never spoken poorly about any of my current employees and the quote, taken out of context from my book, does not reflect, either directly or indirectly, on any of my team members. I am, frankly, bewildered at the reason being given for my termination.”

A search for candidates, in order to fill the position, will begin soon, according to a statement by the county.

“In the meantime, measures are being taken to ensure EMS will continue providing the best service to our citizens,” said County Administrator Keith Bustraan.

Officials announced that Deputy Administrator of Community Services Christine DuRant will serve as Interim Director until the position is filled.

Lundy had been placed on temporary leave earlier this month during an internal human resources investigation. 

Lundy published a memoir, Paramedics of the Heart, on July 4 about his career in EMS. The book goes through different experiences he had on the job.

“This is not a job but a calling,” Lundy writes. “In this business, attitude is everything. Those of us who are serious about patient care realize that our sole purpose in our mission is to serve others.”

The book also goes on to describe coworkers of Lundy’s.

“They are life-sucking, energy draining bags of annoying hell,” Lundy writes in a section of the book. “And, for their own misgivings, everyone around them must suffer.”

Lundy served as the County’s EMS Director since 2000.

(We thank reporter  Karina Bolster for her research on this case)


On the other hand, here are two that got it right the first time:

Life and Death and EverythingA Paramedic’s Story: Life, Death, and Everything in Between  

Who else is telling you these things?

The Pedigree of a Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws & Ethical Illusions



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