For most of the population, hospitals themselves are not typically relaxing environments, especially in time-sensitive settings. High stakes combined with limited time to complete a task can make anyone lose their heads. Luckily, the quick-thinking professionals at ParaFlight respond perfectly under pressure.
On top of the usual urgency that’s present in all hospitals, organ transplant teams have additional regulations to follow. From the first incision of the donor, a clock starts ticking on the viability of the organ. Depending on the organ, professionals have a matter of hours to remove, package, transport and place the life-saving organ into the recipient. And because of the rarity of organs conducive for transplant, procedures must be followed to a T. Carelessness can make the difference between life and death for someone who has been on a waiting list for years. ParaFlight professionals organize every step of the process so that each transport is executed flawlessly. They work as though someone’s life depends on perfection because it usually does.
The Journey To Today
Sim Shain, founder and president of ParaFlight adopted the mission to save lives in his early childhood. At the age of 7, he remembers his father working as an EMT and dropping everything to go help someone in need. Years later, Sim became an EMT and later a paramedic himself to continue on with his father’s mission. Sim reflects in an interview, “My dad would drop everything to go save a life. And I said, when I get older, that’s what I’m going to do.”
While working in the rubble at the site of the twin towers, Sim met Steve Zakheim, whose influence saved countless lives while he was alive, and his legacy continues in Sim’s work through ParaFlight.
Amongst other things, Steve introduced Sim to the practice of medical transport via aviation. With a plane specially outfitted to transport a stretcher and other medical equipment, Sim and Steve traveled across the world to transfer patients to medical facilities that otherwise would have been inaccessible. Throughout this process, Sim got to know campers from Camp Simcha, which helps children with cancer and medical disabilities make lasting memories despite their diagnoses.
Working with the campers, Sim saw firsthand the heartbreak and urgency of organ transplants. Sim was especially frustrated when a patient was finally at the top of the transplant list, only to miss out because the organ didn’t have the necessary transportation to get where it needed to be. Though Sim’s mentor and friend has passed away from illness wrought from his work at the site of the twin towers, Sim established ParaFlight to preserve Steve’s legacy far into the future.
ParaFlight’s Grand Mission
“I want to do whatever I can to make sure anybody who needs a lung or any vital organ is going to get it. And that became my mission, that became my drive. I just want to be able to save lives.”
Since its inception in 2014, ParaFlight’s mission has been simple: to save lives. However, the execution of said goal is significantly more complicated. In addition to the meticulous process required of each organ transplant procedure, ParaFlight also orchestrates the transport for the organ, which often occurs at odd hours of the day with little to no advanced notice. With his team, Sim recruits all the personnel and equipment necessary to perform the procedure, and then to fly it safely to its destination where the recipient is eagerly waiting.
“We might get the alert that an organ will be ready for transit at 5 AM the following morning. Then, we find an available aircraft, pilot, and a driver. We communicate with the hospital to figure out which surgeon is traveling with the organ and order them catered food, because we want to take care of the heroes who are working so hard. And we are communicating with the teams at the transplant center each step of the way.”
In between changing lives by providing life-changing organs, ParaFlight also coordinates concierge corporate air charter and fixed wing air ambulance service worldwide for patients who might need to go to an “ICU in the sky”. Both services offer a dispatch center that is open 24 hours a day and are staffed by trained medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, and paramedics.
Through their medical escort services, ParaFlight provides peace of mind for not only the patient, but for the families as well. A previous client expressed how grateful she was that ParaFlight professionals were able to tend to her 90 year old parents as they flew across the country: “While this has been a very stressful time for us, you have made the move so much easier for us and them. Just knowing that their flight would be smooth means the world to us.”
One of the major hurdles to providing care is simply the availability of aircrafts. Sim says it crushes him to know that there are sometimes available organs that simply don’t have the transportation to travel to a new recipient. In the future, Sim hopes to partner with major air transport operators to ensure that every available organ has the means to change or save a life.
Above and Beyond
Each day, the team at ParaFlight goes above and beyond to take care of their patients and ultimately to save lives. Because of their efforts, patients and travelers have peace of mind that all the details of their organ transplant, or of their trip, is taken care of by experienced and compassionate professionals.
At 7 years old, Sim Shain watched his dad save lives within their community. ParaFlight now flies across the country to ensure that patients get the care they need. With their straightforward mission statement of “One Team, One MIssion…saving lives”, ParaFlight organizes all the complicated details to perfection so that the only thing patients need to worry about is healing.
Contact ParaFlight to feel confident that your loved ones are in good hands.
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Photo provided by ParaFlight.