When we think about the modern needs of hospitals and patients, we tend to focus on the countless details happening in the buildings themselves. We might think of the doctors and nurses and the equipment, and especially recently, of the sanitation. However, Sim Shain, founder of a company called ParaFlight, thinks about the nitty gritty details of a hospital, as well as those of air transit.
As a child, Shain learned the importance of a human life, especially of saving it whenever possible, from watching his father. Shain says he remembers his father working as a paramedic and dropping everything to help a stranger survive. From there, Shain became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in 1993, and later a paramedic himself. He was present and provided aid to the victims of 9/11 in 2001.
It was here too that he met Steve Zakheim, another paramedic who would use his private plane to provide aid to warzones or to transport people to doctors where they might not have had access. Through working with Zakheim, Shain met several patients in need of organ transplant, which tends to be a long, tumultuous, and time sensitive process. After the death of a patient he had grown close with, Shain found himself wishing for an “Uber” for transplants. And so, ParaFlight began to take shape. While Zakheim has unfortunately passed away due to complications from working at the site of 9/11, his legacy of flying planes to provide medical care lives on through Shain’s work today.
An Uber for Organs
As a company, an Uber for organ transplant is an apt description. Shain was frustrated with the many steps involved in organ transplant transportation, so he came up with a new system. “And I remember having this epiphany when I was just one day, I was like, why can’t we just do, like, an Uber but just do it for organ transplant flights?”
And so, he hired a full team of software developers to actually build such an app – OrganFlights.com. He told the developer, “I want this app to make sure that lives for the transplant teams are simpler.”
Through the app, Shain will receive an alert that an organ will be available for procurement at a donor hospital. From there, the ParaFlight and OrganFlights dispatch center will send out messages to find an available plane, complete with a team of pilots to fly the teams and the organ to the donor hospital for procurement and back to the recipient hospital for transplant. Like many other apps, the registered operators will receive a notification and then have the choice to accept or decline the trip. ParaFlight can arrange for drivers in emergency vehicle SUVs to pick up and transport the organs from the hospitals, complete with pictures of the vehicles with trackers, as well as the coolers and boxes to ensure the hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys are going to the right place (again, we know this was inspired by our favorite car summoning apps) so that the organ can make it into the right vehicle. This all sounds a bit complicated, right? While all of these processes are moving, ParaFlight is constantly updating the transplant centers, down to the time of incision, cross clamp, etc. about the status of their new organ.
“We really understand what’s involved, all the technicalities and getting it there both on the ground side and on the air side.”
While organ transport is one of the main functions of the company, they service their patients in other ways as well. For instance, they may provide paramedics or medical professionals to fly with elderly or sick individuals who would be more comfortable knowing there was a highly trained crew on board. We know that traveling is already hectic, and working with someone who requires medical care can add unknown obstacles to the process.
Previous ParaFlight clients attest that they were put at ease while traveling oxygen.
“I require oxygen and a feeding pump wherever I go, and was very concerned about flying. You let me know from the beginning that ‘We will take care of everything and please don’t worry.’ You took care of all flight and medical details with a smile.”
ParaFlight manages all of the details and lets the patients relax. Beyond flying, ParaFlight will occasionally use emergency vehicles to drive an organ where it needs to be if the hospitals are within a shorter distance. The company will jump through hoops to minimize stress, to assist the patients in whatever way possible, and again, to save lives.
“We’ll fly anything that people need, whatever we can do to save lives. It doesn’t really matter what it is.”
No matter the situation, ParaFlight cares about people. Not only does the company reduce the stress of the patients, but ParaFlight works to ensure the surgeons, pilots, perfusionists and crew responsible for the organs are accommodated on flight and treated like celebrities. ParaFlight provides safe, reliable, comfortable aircraft and fresh catered meals to ensure that the teams can rest during the flight and won’t be hungry. Sim Shain has a high respect for the people on his teams and tries to thank them in any way he can. “Our medical teams and flight crews are true celebrities and we treat them as such. They spend their days and nights saving lives.” Meeting the needs of both the hospital and health care professionals, as well as the patients involved helps to set ParaFlight apart as a business and medical industry. ParaFlight takes care of its people while working to save lives.
Try as Shain might, the main obstacle in his field is finding available planes. Shain believes that people might not get the organs that are ready because the organs have no ride. “I have no doubt there are numerous times a day around the country that there are organs that are being turned down because they just don’t have a flight available.”
In the future, Shain hopes to form a partnership with a company with a fleet of planes at the ready so that he can get all available organs where they need to be. Businesses in a partnership with ParaFlight would earn an additional source of revenue in addition to the positive image that they too, hope to shape and transform the medical transport industry. Paraflight has also been recently recognized in the top third of the 2022 Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in America. Other collaborators may be able to draft on Paraflight’s success so that both companies benefit.
Waiting for an organ transplant can be heartbreaking because the recipients can usually do nothing but sit and wait. Knowing that patients wait for years for an organ, only to be thwarted by a lack of organ transit is crushing. This is why ParaFlight is a game changer for the medical industry. With the primary goal of saving lives, Shain and his company piece together the hundreds of moving pieces to ensure that when an organ finally becomes ready, and someone finally is about to get off the waitlist and continue their lives, the transit of the organ is not an additional worry of the recipient. They have had enough to worry about, and need to focus on healing afterwards. ParaFlight can give them peace of mind that has been lost for years.
Attention all Passengers:
While reflecting on the needs of hospitals and patients, there are many components that most of us don’t even know to consider. ParaFlight uses its medical background and trained logistic professionals to consider all the details so that the transplant centers and Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO’s) can focus on the transplant and not worry about the transport. They put their clients at ease while changing the world. With the motto of “One Team, One Mission…saving lives”, ParaFlight is the future of medical transport, and the boarding time is now.