Cleveland mechanic becomes ER doctor at 51 – after starting pre-med classes in 2010
A former Cleveland-area mechanic has completed his lifelong goal of becoming a medical physician nearly 32 years after opening his auto shop.
Carl Allamby, 51, started his job in an emergency room as an attending physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, 16 years after deciding he wanted to return to school.
He enrolled at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, in 2016 at age 34 to attain a business degree, after having been a small business owner for 15 years.
After taking an introductory biology course, Allamby was reminded of ‘childhood ambitions’ to become a doctor.
He then enrolled in pre-med classes at Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Community College in 2010.
‘After my decision to pursue medicine, I started volunteering at a hospital in the Cleveland area,’ Allamby told FOX News.
‘Every exposure I had in medicine further solidified my choice to pursue a medical career.’
Carl Allamby, 51, decided to pursue a career in medicine after returning to school at age 36
Allamby attributes his decision to attend pre-med classes to an introductory biology course he took while completing a business degree
The former Cleveland-based mechanic, who opened his first auto shop at age 19, was accepted to Northeast Ohio Medical University in 2015
Allamby juggled his career as a mechanic with collegiate courses and volunteering at local hospitals for nine years
‘In my previous life as a master technician, I worked on almost every make and model and fixed everything from brakes to major engine and transmission rebuilds,’ Allamby said, adding that his career as a mechanic led to his success in medicine
Once he was accepted to a program at Cleveland State University to prepare for medical school, Allamby continued to maintain his auto repair business while also taking classes.
‘Over the course of five years or better, I attended weekend, evening or early morning classes in pre-medicine and other college studies while managing my business, lifestyle and household in order to transition my career,’ he said.
‘My exit from business could not be abrupt. I had too many people counting on me and too many bills to maintain.’
Allamby then started medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University in 2015, adding that he would not let his age – then 45 – get in his way as he studied with younger students.
‘I worked very hard to stay ahead. but I think all of my responsibilities kept me focused on what needed to get done,’ he said.
‘That helped me to consume the large quantities of information that must be understood to succeed in medicine.’
He graduated from medical school at 47 and started an emergency medicine residency at Cleveland Clinic Akron in 2019.
Allamby said his decision to start his small business at 19 was ‘mostly out of desperation and necessity’ because of financial restraints
The former mechanic attributes his time working on cars to his success as a practicing physician.
‘In my previous life as a master technician, I worked on almost every make and model and fixed everything from brakes to major engine and transmission rebuilds,’ he said.
‘I had a lot of customers break down in tears or who were visibly shaken when I explained the diagnosis and eventual fate of their vehicle.’
‘Interestingly, as I have gotten older, the human connection and thought of empathy and caring for others have been equally important.’
Allamby said he had ‘childhood ambitions’ of pursuing a career in medicine before he became more involved at a local car parts shop
Allamby remembers first moving to an East Cleveland in the mid ’70s because it was the only area of his father, a door-to-door salesman, and his mother could afford a home.
‘We faced economic hardships throughout my upbringing and were on welfare for what seemed to be my entire childhood,’ he said.
He added that while he appreciated the efforts of his early teachers, he was more focused on his quality of life at home.
‘I remember having a desire at a young age to become a doctor — but my life circumstances led me to a much different place,’ he continued.
‘From my own experience, it is very difficult to focus on your education when your mind is filled with challenges outside the walls of the school. Food insecurity, safely making it to and from school, affording decent clothing and or just trying to fit in took precedent over studying and getting good grades.’
Allamby got a job at a car parts store while in high school and worked side jobs performing various repairs and maintenance opportunities.
At 19, he opened Allamby’s Auto Service ‘mostly out of desperation and necessity.’
His growing desire that led him to return to school came after the challenges of becoming a small business owner became apparent in the mid-2000s.
Now, 32 years after opening his auto shop, Allamby has made his childhood dream of working in medicine come true.