From a very young age, Sim Shain knew there was value to saving lives. Shain grew up the son of a volunteer EMT and when the time came for Shain to step out into the world on his own, he knew he wanted to continue in his father’s footsteps, thus founding ParaFlight EMS and Aviation and Organflights.com.
Sim Shain’s Journey
Sim Shain began his career in the pre-hospital emergency medical space by joining Hatzolah, the same local EMS his father helped form, for but that’s where Shain took a detour that he will never regret. By 2007, he was a certified paramedic.
When the US witnessed the tragedy of 9/11 Sim Shain was dispatching ambulance crews to Ground Zero from New Jersey. The story goes that Shain hopped on board one of those ambulances to provide aid to the New York City police, firefighters, and other victims of that tragic day.
During that day, he met a fellow paramedic and philanthropist Steve Zakheim. Through conversations over the years, Zakheim encouraged Shain to consider the business of medical aviation transportation. Shain would volunteer for emergency medical flights that Zakheim organized. Unfortunately, Zakheim passed away from the damage done to his lungs during 9/11. Prior to Zakheim’s passing in 2013, he told his friend, “Take my plane,” and build a business that would continue to help those in medical need. Shain took that request and created ParaFlights EMS and Aviation, and subsequently Organflights.com.
Despite being a CEO and entrepreneur, Shain is still a paramedic at heart and it shows in everything he does.
Putting in the Hard Work, Saving Lives
For instance, medical aviation and transport is challenging business. However, Shain lives by the motto, “ it’s very simple to say no and move on. We need to find a way to say yes”. For Shain and his team, this meant finding a way to transport organs for transplant and those in the most critical need safely and with short notice. The solution was to create an app that would link OPOs, transplant centers and aircraft operators to a central hub, allowing the 24-hour dispatch to coordinate every detail of transport, including ground transport if necessary.
“I’ve made it my mission, to do whatever I can to make sure that those people who need vital organs in order to live, that we would be there to help them get it,” said Shain.
During Covid, Shain and his team needed to pivot, keeping in the mindset of assuring patients get the care they need, the team and their fleet of pilots and jets began transporting medical equipment such as ventilators to the places that needed them most. They also assisted those who were stuck out of the country or out of their home state back to where they needed to be when one or more of their family members tested positive for Covid.
Through all of this, Shain keeps patient care as the sole purpose of his business. Sim Shain understands emergencies happen stating, “In an emergency, time is of the essence.” There’s no time to wait for a commercial flight when a patient needs medical transport. And the last thing a patient or their family wants to worry about is the cost of finding a flight. “We don’t say ‘no’ to saving a life,” said Shain. “Nothing else matters but taking care of people when they need it the most. Money should never get in the way of that.”
Just as important as time is in a medical emergency, so is training. Shain and his team are constantly training and keeping informed on both the aviation industry and the medical industry. Shain continues to volunteer as a Hatzolah paramedic , he is a nationally certified paramedic, licensed medical escort, flight medic, certified PADI diver, and a member of the Lakewood NJ Water Rescue Team. Shain is also working hard to put an end to organ donation disparity and inequality. Black patients make up 35 percent of the organ donation waiting list, though they only make up 13 percent of the population. With an already overwhelming need for donors, due in part to the pandemic, Sim Shain realizes there needs to be a change and remove the obstacles people of color face waiting on the transplant list.
More about Sim Shain:
Sim Shain, founder and CEO of ParaFlight EMS and Aviation, and Organflights.com, has led a remarkable 28- year career working in the pre-hospital emergency medical space. He is a noteworthy leader who takes on challenging responsibilities leading corporate, medical, and charity flights and missions specializing in organ transplants. Sim is a devoted volunteer who contributes towards numerous well-known organizations such as Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha, Hatzolah of Central NJ, NY Hatzolah, United Hatzalah of Israel, The Special Children’s Center, Birthright Israel, and providing in-flight medical support to children and adults with cancer and disabilities, free of charge. ParaFlight EMS and Aviation and Organflights.com personify his lifelong mission of “changing the world, one organ at a time.
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