NYC EMT pens memoir on harrowing frontline experiences

"First Responder" covers EMT Jennifer Murphy's experience throughout the pandemic and working under "the city's long-broken EMS system"


EMT Jennifer Murphy, the author of "First Responder: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Love on New York City's Front Lines," joined co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson on the Inside EMS podcast to discuss her inspirations behind the book. Listen here. 

By Laura French

NEW YORK — An EMT working in New York City recently published a memoir reflecting on her career and experiences on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"First Responder: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Love on New York City's Front Lines" covers EMT Jennifer Murphy's work under "the city's long-broken EMS system" and what motivates her and her colleagues to stay on the job despite "terrifying experiences and grave injustices," according to the book's description

EMT Jennifer Murphy's memoir
EMT Jennifer Murphy's memoir "First Responder" was published last week. The book covers her experiences as an EMS provider in New York City "during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic." (Photo/Simon & Schuster)

Murphy writes about her frontline work "during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic," including her own experience contracting the virus but not being able to get a test, according to the New York Post. She recounts the emotional and physical toll of the crisis as hospitals filled with patients, PPE ran out and many patients succumbed to the disease. 

Murphy says she rejects the labels of "hero" and "bravery," according to the New York Post, but noted the impact of the pandemic on the public's response to EMS providers, writing, "Finally, people saw us. The sirens forced them to see what we were doing on the street. What we'd been doing all along, for years, invisible and alone ... What a feeling, to be invisible for long and then to suddenly be seen." 

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