Friday, October 22, 2010

Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse

Janice Hudson's tales of her years as an emergency flight nurse in San Francisco made me laugh a little, cry a lot, and reaffirm that I never, ever want to be in the medical profession. 

I actually purchased this book as a birthday gift for our son, who will be an unbelievable 20-years-old next month, but naturally I read it first.  Mitch is currently in nursing school and this book describes his dream job - to fly on a rescue helicoptor/airplane and treat trauma patients. 

This book reads as if Ms. Hudson were sitting in your living room, telling her tales over a glass of wine.  They are straight forward, with none of the grusome details deleted, although I would imagine they have been diluted a bit.  She is also very frank about her emotions - especially as they struggled to save children facing major illness, or injuries inflicted by careless or impaired adults. 

The San Francisco landscape and weather add the challenges of radio outages, dangerous winds and rains, and even earthquakes - including the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, during which Janice was on duty in the ER - to an already treacherous job.  Ms. Hudson's memoir is a gripping story that keeps you turning pages like a bestselling thriller, then you remember that these stories are true and a new kind of chill grips your heart. 

This is a fascinating book that will give you a new level of gratitude for those who dedicate themselves to saving lives.  I still don't want to be a nurse, but I am grateful for - and proud of - those who do. 


  1. Oh I say that all the time - I'm glad there are people out there who WANT to do those jobs. Medical, social work, firefighters - you know - all the tough jobs that are most important but take a very special person to do. I'm glad your son is one of them.

  2. My nephew Mitch would be a tremendous flight nurse - - - He is very compassionate and kind and level headed. Plus it doesn't help that he looks like he could single-handedly load me up on a helicopter and rescue me! Proud of him and all my nephews and nieces!