If you have ever tried to plan a trip, complete with flights, multiple people, and a time crunch, you know that things can get complicated and stressful quickly. Add the fact that the trip might be planned and implemented within 24 hours, it sounds like the coordination efforts from hell. However, the heroic crew of ParaFlight and Organfights.com work within these parameters daily, and because of their efforts, countless lives are saved.
ParaFlight and Organflights.com is an organ transplant company that orchestrates the transport details necessary to get donated organs to their recipients. The team at ParaFlight plans each step of the process including packaging the organ, acquiring the plane, contacting the transportation to and from the hospital, and assembling all the crew, both aeronautically trained and otherwise, to get the donor organ to its destination safely and within the urgent time constraints. Each mission requires a distinct brand of organization and professionalism that is unmatched by any other projects in the world. Let’s meet the team that makes it all happen, and explain how they are saving lives and changing the world, one trip at a time.
Meet the team
In an industry with either life-changing or heartbreaking results, it makes sense that ParaFlight’s organ transplant team is always on. The processes also involve moving pieces that require team members to wear multiple hats and face several sacrifices to ensure the jobs get done. Because of the ticking clock on organ vitality, each member of the team needs to move fast, and their work is often at the most inconvenient times. The ParaFlight team needs to be selfless, quick thinking, and brave. In addition to the countless other people who are involved in each transplant process, the 6 individuals below are crucial to ParaFlight’s success.
Sim Shain: Sim Shain is the founder and CEO of ParaFlight and is the brain and idea man that keeps everything flying. He got the idea for ParaFlight from his days as a paramedic and as a volunteer for Camp Simcha, where he saw the heartbreaking process of waiting for an organ transplant. From there, he made his life’s mission to provide transportation for any donated organ to get to the recipient. “And that became my mission, that became my drive. So there’s really not much else that I want to do because I just want to be able to save lives.” He wished for, and built an “Uber” type app for organ transplant flights across the country, and saving lives through organ transport is exactly how ParaFlight succeeds.
Dr. Mark Merlin: With an operation as detailed and urgent as organ transplant, ParaFlight needs a chief medical officer who is renowned and experienced to train physicians in precise procedures. Dr. Mark Merlin is the Chief Medical Officer of the largest EMS system in New Jersey with leadership experience with the American Heart Association and at the RWJ Barnabas Health/Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Dr. Merlin uses a cool head and his experience in emergencies to provide an exceptional eye for detail and knowledge of the body for organ transplant planning.
Robert Van Amerongen M.D. : As the medical director responsible for day to day operations, Dr. Van Amerongen stays busy with work. He was one of the first board certified Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians in the New York area, and he currently ensures that ParaFlight’s systems are effective and meet the highest standards so that all organs and personnel are taken care of.
Dr. Josh Schwartzbaum: With the patients, lifesaving organs, and staff regularly up in the air, ParaFlight requires a calm and steady Chief Flight Physician to perform the emergency tasks that most physicians complete on the ground, but instead, he’s in an airplane going hundreds of miles per hour. Outside his work at ParaFlight, Dr. Schwartzbaum works as an attending physician and associate director of EMS at Saint Barnabas hospital.
Dr. Alex Feldman: Dr. Feldman is not only a flight physician for ParaFlight, but he also works as an assistant professor for pediatrics at the New Jersey Medical School. He is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology and he is an invaluable member of the ParaFlight team.
Denise Souraj-Ramjohn: Remember that urgent trip planning discussion where there are hundreds of moving pieces and the planning and flight are all on a ticking clock? Denise is the Chief Flight Scheduler and Coordinator, and is the planning warrior that pieces all the components together so that the organs and the transplant teams can get where they need to be. Beyond using her training in Emergency Response and Crisis Management, Denise has one of the most difficult jobs in the field as she works to have the smallest of travel details planned and accounted for.
The family that flies
Think of all the family vacations that took months to plan and how you bonded along the way. The team at ParaFlight doesn’t have time to set dates on a calendar, but they manage to work as a team and plan the minutest of details for organ transplant with only hours of notice.
The group above and many others sacrifice their time, sleep, and quiet to be ready at the sound of an alert. Each professional uses their training to go beyond their hospital work and spend time in the air, transporting hope across the country. With all the time in the sky and time away from loved ones, the ParaFlight team has become its own heroic family. Founder Sim Shain values each of his crew and works to establish a team of trust and grit, and everyone who flies with ParaFlight knows the inconceivable value of saving a life.