Book Review: “Sirens, Lights and Lawyers”

One of the most egregious disservices to EMS students is what passes for medicolegal education in EMT or Paramedic school.

Far too often, students are subjected to myth, dogma and outright bullshit from instructors who have at best a superficial understanding of the subject, most of whom have never had their lessons taught or vetted by an actual lawyer.

This gives rise to misinterpretation of Good Samaritan laws, EMTs refusing to get bumper stickers or EMS vanity plates because they’re afraid of getting sued for not stopping at accidents, no real understanding of liability, and my personal favorite, “We work under the medical director’s license.”

David Givot’s new book, “Sirens, Lights and Lawyers: The Law and Other Really Important Stuff EMS Providers Never Learned In School,” is aimed squarely at dispelling that myth, dogma and bullshit in terms that EMS providers understand.

David is an experienced EMS attorney who makes his living defending EMS providers in court. He earned his street cred as a paramedic in Los Angeles County, and his book reads like a paramedic wrote it – straightforward, full of savvy advice and wisdom, and peppered with the occasional four letter word.

You know, just like paramedics talk.

In the book, David credits Baxter Larmon as a major influence on his EMS career, and it shows in this book. Like Baxter, David is funny, unfiltered, and supremely skilled at distilling complex and nuanced subjects into terms the rest of us can understand.

There are only two medicolegal books that I recommend every EMT have in their personal library, and sadly the first one – “The Missing Protocol,” by Denise Graham – is out of print.

The second book is “Sirens, Lights and Lawyers.” This book is one you cannot afford NOT to have in your library.

I highly recommend it.

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