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Can You Hear Me?

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  786 ratings  ·  112 reviews
A memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life as a paramedic.

A young man has stopped breathing in a supermarket toilet. A pedestrian with a nasty head injury won't let the crew near him on a busy road. A newborn baby is worryingly silent. An addict urinates on the ambulance floor when denied a fix. This is the life of an ambulance paramedic.

Jake Jones has
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 6th 2020 by Quercus
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  786 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🚑

Can You Hear Me? is a collection of memoirs from paramedic Jake Jones during his time in the NHS ambulance service. As expected, it’s filled with a multitude of stories that cover the wide breadth of tasks paramedics do, from saving livings to telling people who to take paracetamol. It’s a critique on the misuse of a wonderful service, full of compassion, but also despondency at the amount of abuse such workers receive.

The real highlight for me whi
Ruthy lavin
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a 3.5 star rating.
I’ve read a lot of medical biographies, including 2 previously written by paramedics, and this is good but not quite as good as those.
I felt that the style of writing was comparably unique which I liked, but it was a bit scrambled and I didn’t like the way the stories were left without follow up.
I know that very often the paramedics never find out the outcome of their patients, but in the previous books I’d read the stories had been given conclusions, this could have re
Liz Barnsley
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Paramedics really are the front line when it comes to emergencies and even when it's not so much an emergency but much needed attention of many kinds.

Our NHS takes a bashing but reading this memoir makes you realise the scope of what these professionals achieve, often with few resources and a whole host of work- this is at times heartbreaking, occasionally amusing and really paints a vivid picture of the sheer length and breadth of the different situations encountered.

The writing is sharp and in
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
“Every occupation carries its own mythology. This one has the sparkle of excitement, but don’t be dazzled. Not all flashing lights mean there’s a disco going on.”

In Can You Hear Me?, Jake Jones (writing under a pseudonym) draws on his decade of experience as a paramedic in the UK to share the reality of what he encounters each day (and night) when he dons his green uniform.

The stories are told with compassion and humour, representing the mundane and miraculous, the triumphs and tragedies. Jones
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star
A look at NHS frontlines through the eyes of a seasoned paramedic, often working alone as a first responder. This was an interesting addition to the ever growing medical memoir genre, and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the role of medics.

I felt this was an accurate account of a typical day in the life of, although the way the book was formatted left a little to be desired for me as a reader. There are long paragraphs of to-and-from dialect, which feels a bit monotonous after a while
beth ☁️
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first medical biography I have read. This was an eye opener for me in a way literature/ books really can open the views and give the side which are missing. I’ve watched many medical dramas and know they aren’t a true picture of what goes on, so this book have an insight I haven’t had before. The ending of the personal level in which he describes the incident with his dad was gripping with the reality and personal touch. Further, the updated section for the coronavirus pandemic and w ...more
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Memoir of an NHS paramedic

YouTube review:

It seems fitting to be reviewing this just as the NHS has its 72nd birthday. A much valued institution that is sadly under siege given the political and coronavirus situation in the UK at the moment.

The author writes under a pseudonym to preserve the confidentially of the people he sees. He also doesn’t reveal the location but it is clear it is somewhere in England.

For sure there is drama, interspersed with routine and frustra
Caroline Lisa
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jake has written a wonderful book here- the stories are varied (touching, heartbreaking, exasperating, eye-opening) but all come together to create a cohesive message: it’s one hell of a job.
My only negative is that we don’t really get to hear ‘the end’ to a lot of the stories and are left wondering what happened to the patient... but then again I guess that’s what it must be like in the life of a paramedic! Clever stuff!
Kim Ebner
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a solid memoir and one that I enjoyed reading, but it was just that, an enjoyable read. I didn’t find it to be earth shattering nor something that I feel I need to tell everyone they must read. Having said that, if you’re interested in the NHS ambulance service, and the lives of the paramedics that work for this service, in what these people do every day, in what type of call outs they receive and what type of injuries they attend to, then you’ll enjoy this read. Many different call-outs ...more
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life as a paramedic.

A young man has stopped breathing in a supermarket toilet. A pedestrian with a nasty head injury won't let the crew near him on a busy road. A newborn baby is worryingly silent. An addict urinates on the ambulance floor when denied a fix. This is the life of an ambulance paramedic.

Jake Jones has worked in the UK ambulance s
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the story of Jake who is a paramedic. It consists of memoirs of many cases that he has been involved in. As a fellow healthcare professional, we has been involved in emergency care, I was aware of the pressures on the ambulance service and hospitals, caused by time wasters and was so glad that this is talked about in the book to make the general public aware.
This book highlights the commitment and compassion of healthcare workers. Paramedics deal with life at the very beginning and
Summer Lambert
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
“They’ll be many more that went tiger hunting and found rabbits”

Yawn, I really was looking froward to reading this one but I felt let down by it to be honest. I was glad to have finished it and moved on to something a bit more interesting. I can’t say any of the stories really excited me, one thing I did take away from this book is realising just how much abuse the NHS and the staff put up with, which is sad. :(
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading medical memoirs and this was an interesting read. Jake tells about how he became a paramedic and gives an insight into life in an ambulance and as a fast responder. Jake tells this with respect and dignity.
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What can I say about this book. An honest and raw account of what its like to work as a paramedic. Full of stories and glimpses of people in their most difficult moments. I loved the honesty of the changes Jake sees in himself, the job has affected him too, and I can relate to them working in the caring profession.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
a little too theatrical and unnecessarily dramatic for me but still a fun read :)
Cameron Steward
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A truly honest depiction of life as a paramedic and all the horrors, stresses and hopes it can bring. The scene building is particularly brilliant, placing you in these near-impossible to imagine scenarios. A total triumph of a book!
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoy NHS memoirs and this one didn’t let me down. Informative, humorous and emotional. Not the best one that I’ve read but still very enjoyable.
Andrea Allen
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Nice read apart from the last chapter on covid. I read to switch off from the current situation. I don't want to read about it. Skipped this chapter. And I know some people will want to read it but for my mental health I can't. It's too much. ...more
Jenna Nelson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love a bit of non fiction. Thus was right up my street and thanks to @netgalley for the advanced copy. I always find it fascinating to hear the stories of patients. To hear of the paramedics side of the job just grips me in and cant even imagine half the things they go through. I've read a few books like this style and they never disappoint. The book was written well and was easy to follow ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book details on Jake, a paramedics experience in his field of work from different cases and accidents, outlining scary truths and shocking conclusions. I was shocked to read of the cases where the NHS system was abused by others and felt my heartache for the paramedics not just in the book but in general after reading some of the cases. These people have so much to face, day in and day out with their job, t
Clare Moore
Thanks to netgalley for the chance to read this book.

Interesting insight into the job of a paramedic.
However, felt a bit disjointed due to how the chapters where set out and kept jumping back and forward between the patients and the authors views.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a paramedic & bookworm, I was asked by Quercus to review this book & I genuinely cannot fault it. I have met every one of its patients, felt every one of its emotions & had moments of such despondency & desperation that I’ve almost walked out of my career. But despite all of the NHS’s faults, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

Can You Hear Me gets every aspect of the life of a paramedic right - it does not glorify it (because it certainly is not all about blood, guts & cardiac arre
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book.

There are a few spoilers in this review.

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a paramedic? Have you watched the TV programmes and documentaries, so you know what they do, what they are called to?

Well, think again.

Jake explains how he ended up being a paramedic (career change) and he initially struggles with his confidence when dealing with medical situations. However, this confidence grows and he deals with many different jobs
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read and reviewed in exchange for a free copy from NetGalley. I really enjoy books of this genre, and this was no exception. It fitted into the general formula sharing interesting tales from the author's career, although I felt Jones' writing, whilst descriptive and setting the scene well, jumped around a bit too much and could be hard to follow. ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley-read
I enjoy reading memoirs & ones from people with jobs like this particularly appeal.
I did enjoy reading Jake's stories yet I felt it was bland - he isn't a natural wordsmith & the stories jumped around rather illogically. The book would have benefitted from some editting or ghost writing to turn the bland & mundane into something special.
Some sections really touch a nerve - the frail Reggie who waited 3 hours after a fall for help because of a young women reported as "unconscious" who had just ha
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
It shows how hard a shift for a frontline lone paramedic can be, never fully knowing what you are walking into, what you will face and knowing that you will be facing someone's trauma.

I was fascinated right from the very beginning and in awe of how 'Jake' coped.

Everyone needs to read this kind of book, just to have an inkling of what they go through each shift.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first medical memoir of 2021! This was filled with a wide variety of stories from the mundane to the dramatic: over the course of 10 years, Jones' stock of tales covers the breadth of human nature, and the breadth of ways a human body may go wrong.

I started this with some trepidation, having read 999 - My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service last year and been hugely disappointed with how much of it was filled with rants. Jake Jones manages to keep his frustrations quite contain
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, non-fiction

A memoir about being a paramedic in London, Jake Jones gives a reflective account on what it’s like working in the busy and overloaded NHS. Whilst giving patient stories, Jones recounts why he became a paramedic, his fears and expectations, and what he feels like years later. He discusses the misuse and abuse of the service versus the patients that truly need an ambulance.
Overall, I didn’t truly enjoy this book. I picked this one up after reading Fighting for Your Life by Lysa Wilder and This i
Julie Smith
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life as a paramedic.

A young man has stopped breathing in a supermarket toilet. A pedestrian with a nasty head injury won't let the crew near him on a busy road. A newborn baby is worryingly silent. An addict urinates on the ambulance floor when denied a fix. This is the life of an ambulance paramedic.

Jake Jones has worked in the UK ambulance service for ten years: every day, he sees a dozen of the scenes we hope to see only once in a life
Gemma (Bookish & Brews)
I am a big fan of a medical memoir so this read is right up my street. I really liked the title of the book, which isn’t something i usually mention.
It was an easy read, fast pasted, interesting stories. It felt genuine and as thought Jake Jones could be a friend who is telling you about his day at work.
If your not medically minded, you can also read it, there wasn’t a heavy amount of medical language used which i would have expected but I assume that’s because I’m so used to reading this genre
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