Charlie Abney

Emergency Medical Education Paramedic Program
UT Southwestern Medical Center 

Firefighter, Dallas Fire Department, Station #34

Always Something Exciting

“The thing I enjoy the most [about this job] is that every day is different. So every day I know there’s going to be something exciting, maybe on the next call, maybe in the middle of the night. I come from a long line of firefighters out in LA. I didn’t originally intend to be a paramedic, but Dallas required it and I took it and I’m really glad it’s part of our department because it’s very useful knowledge.”

Wide Variety of Calls

“I work at Station #34 in southeast Dallas. We’ve got a pretty busy ambulance there, a pretty busy station. We see a good amount of calls in a day, ranging from diabetic emergencies to heart attacks, strokes—we get gunshot wounds as well, and can get some pretty serious traumas.”

Juggling Priorities

“Before you do the program [at UT Southwestern] you can’t really decipher if it’s really a true emergency or not. Although it may be an emergency to the patient, the skills you learn here really help you to know if it’s an actual emergency and how to treat it, if so. [The program] is pretty rigorous—when we first started out, the pace was really fast, and it took a little bit of adjusting. It’s step-by-step and really teaches you thoroughly from start to finish, so once you get rolling, it helps you learn pretty easily. Balancing your school and your family life can be a little tough at times. You really have to prioritize your studying and your time at home.”

Deep Understanding

“The faculty is very hands-on and willing to listen to the individual needs of all the students. Also, we’re surrounded by the entire university medical center, which really helps apply more knowledge than just in the paramedic’s field. [The program] was fun because you really learn so in-depth about different types of medical problems that can happen and you really start to understand the human body and how people live. When you get out into the field, it really helps out knowing how deeply you learned in school.”

A Memorable Call

“Recently, we had a lady who overdosed on her blood pressure pills, and with what I learned here in school, I was quickly able to give her medicine to counteract her blood pressure pills. By the time we got her to the emergency room, she was sitting up and talking to the nurses and doctors and staff. If it wasn’t for what I learned here, she might have died that day.”

The Last Word

“It’s very gratifying knowing that you’re helping people out and at the end of the day when you go home, you know you did a good job and you did something good.”