"Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance" (Encore Presentation)

Nov 7, 2018

(Note: This show originally aired back in July.) Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Mike Scardino, whose debut memoir is "Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance." The book details his experiences working an ambulance job in Queens, New York, in the late '60s and early '70s. As per a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Fresh and powerful...Scardino looks back on his summers during college...when he worked as a New York City hospital ambulance attendant. Working 56 hours a week...Scardino recounts in short chapters the many emergencies he witnessed and assisted in that showed him 'the entire catalog of horrifying things that can happen to a human body.' From accidental deaths to suicides, Scardino writes with the detail of a crime reporter ('What had been his left side had grown into the carpet. Just coalesced with the carpet.... Instead of a face, there was a flat oval plane covered with maggots'). Scardino admits that what bothers him 'more than seeing how people die, is seeing how people live': in one example, he describes a diabetic woman whose legs are gangrenous below the knees, who weighs over 400 pounds, and who needs somehow to be carried down from her second-floor apartment.... Scardino's unsparing memoir offers an empathetic look at human pain and suffering."