Antonio Suarez discovered the healing touch at an early age. As a boy scout, he earned a Merit Badge in First Aid after treating the wounds of another boy who had been injured in an accident. This small moment of heroism brought the young Mr. Suarez cheers and accommodations, but it also brought his future into focus: “I decided that this was want I wanted to do with my life—to help people."
After graduating from St. John’s University, Mr. Suarez took a job at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY), where he was eventually promoted to Hospital Manager. While he generally enjoyed his role, Mr. Suarez could not help but envy the Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics running through his doors every day on life-saving missions: “I wanted to be more hands-on.” Exploring his options, Mr. Suarez enrolled in an EMT certification course at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY. Upon earning his certificate, Mr. Suarez quit his manager gig and became an Emergency Medical Technician.
Earning a smaller salary than he did as a Hospital Manager, Mr. Suarez nevertheless felt much more at home in his new job, riding in an ambulance and helping people in need. Mr. Suarez would soon transition from being an EMT to a Paramedic, which allowed him to take on a more sophisticated array of patient-care responsibilities, including I.V. administration, defibrillation and using advanced airway management devices.
Today, Mr. Suarez serves as the Director of Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management at New York Downtown Hospital. Looking back on his career, Mr. Suarez finds little room for regrets: “I’ve been a manager, a Paramedic, an administrator, a clinical professor, I’ve written Emergency Medical textbooks. I’ve ran the gamut of titles and responsibilities.” He also looks forward to helping BMCC students become the emergency medicine professionals of tomorrow: “I like to help people, and my teaching is an extension of that, because I’m helping people learn how to help others.”