LAKE SUCCESS, NY -- Normally, when you hear the word “PJs” you think of a garment that you wear to bed. But on a recent Friday afternoon, “PJs” took on an entirely different meaning. On this particular afternoon, a group of Pararescue Jumpers, aka PJs, from the 103rd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard/US Air Force from Westhampton Beach came to the North Shore-LIJ Bioskills Education Center in Lake Success for a special workshop on combat medical care.
The Pararescuers, some of whom deployed to the Mideast within a week of their visit to the Bioskills Center, are the elite combat force specifically organized, trained and equipped to conduct both conventional and unconventional combat and non-combat rescue operations. They are the most highly trained and versatile personnel recovery specialists in the world. Because of their training, the pararescuers are called on to execute the most perilous, demanding and extreme rescue missions anytime, anywhere across the globe.
In light of the pararescuers’ critical mission, the workshop -- directed by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Rush, MD, a pararescue flight surgeon, and Jason D’Amore, MD, director of the North Shore-LIJ Advanced Airway Training Center -- focused on the advanced life-saving skills that are necessary when performing in severe environments where hospitals and physicians are not readily available. The operating room for pararescuers is frequently in the back of a helicopter.
While training at the Bioskills Education Center, part of North Shore-LIJ’s corporate university, called the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), pararescuers learned critical techniques that previously could only be practiced in a very basic way on computerized simulators, such as those available at the CLI’s Patient Safety Institute, also in Lake Success. The state-of-the-art training facilities at Bioskills offer a unique opportunity for military personnel to practice medical skills in such areas as advanced airway intubations, chest tube placement and deep-wound packing, along with multiple suturing techniques for skin closure.
“I can say without equivocation that the care that we are able to render to our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in critical rescue situations is truly enhanced by our experience at the Bioskills Center,” said Colonel Rush. “We have been fortunate to have Dr. Jason D’Amore, who has been an enthusiastic and expert teacher and the gratitude of the pararescuemen cannot be underestimated.”
Colonel Rush thanked the North Shore-LIJ Health System for opening its doors to the military, and Bioskills Education Center director Joseph Colaccico for his logistical help and support. “The staff at the center has been incredibly helpful to enable us to have an efficient experience and more importantly, a valuable experience,” he said.
Colonel Rush said the 103rd Rescue Squadron currently has three airmen deployed in the theater of operation. “I can truly say that not only were two lives saved because of techniques that we practice and honed in the Bioskills Labs, but the patients were kept more comfortable as a result of the treatments and techniques that the pararescuemen were able to practice and become efficient at,” he said.
North Shore-LIJ’s Bioskills Education Center brings the latest operative techniques to physicians, medical students, nurses and surgical technologists. Coupled with the most advanced technologies in video and endoscopic surgical equipment, the center supports surgical training, continuing medical education and research.
To see a video of the pararescuers’ recent visit to the Bioskills Education Center, click here.
About The North Shore-LIJ Bioskills Education Center
The Bioskills Education Center, part of North Shore-LIJ’s corporate university, called the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), is a state-of-the-art training facility that brings the latest operative techniques to physicians, medical students, nurses and surgical technologists. Coupled with the most advanced technologies in video and endoscopic surgical equipment, the center supports surgical training, continuing medical education and research.