Karam, Jana Abrams

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KARAM, Jana Abrams


Female. Education: Columbia University, M.S.


Home—Morris Township, NJ. Agent—c/o St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.


Author and emergency medical technician.


Into the Breach: A Year of Life and Death with the EMS, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.


After Jana Abrams Karam witnessed the collision of a car and a bicyclist one day, she decided to register for classes in first aid. Those classes led to further education in medicine, and eventually she became an emergency medical technician (EMT). Because Karam wanted to be a writer, too, she decided to combine her interests. In 2002 she published a book about the life of an EMT titled Into the Breach: A Year of Life and Death with the EMS.

Karam's territory as an EMT was impoverished Newark, New Jersey, an urban area that deals with many emergencies. A writer for Kirkus Reviews called Into the Breach "a disturbing descent into the maelstrom of city life." The same writer suggested that Karam should not hold her breath for a television, or movie, documentary because audiences could not "bear so much reality." The events Karam witnessed during her two years as an EMT included decapitations and bodies riddled with gunshots or knife wounds.

Karam peoples her book with profiles of fellow medical technicians and their unflinching dedication. In his review for Library Journal, Tim Delaney called the EMTs "truly unsung heroes of society." Karam also provides a history of the emergency service. Before it was created, the task of cleaning up accidents and driving the injured to hospitals or the dead to mortuaries was left to funeral homes, whose employees had little or no training in medical services. Today there are well-organized emergency medical services located in every major U.S. city. Praising Into the Breach for its skillful prose and insightful observations, Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush commended it as a "fascinating" look at "how urban social trends affect medical issues."



Booklist, November 15, 2002, Vanessa Bush, review of Into the Breach, pp. 551-552.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2002, review of Into the Breach, p. 1447.

Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Tim Delaney, review of Into the Breach, p. 119.*