EMSA, Okla. City hospitals and the U.S. Air Force forge unique partnership

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 14, 2014) -- Oklahoma City medical professionals are teaming up to help train elite pararescue/combat forces for the United States Air Force.  Nineteen members of the Pararescuemen, known as pararescue jumpers or PJs, arrive today to begin eight weeks of training with EMSA, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and the OU Medical Center.  Each pararescue student must complete 300 clinical hours and will work between 45-52 shifts on the ambulances and in the hospitals’ emergency departments, labor and delivery centers, intensive care units and operating rooms.  Students are expected to complete more than 400 patient assessments during the intensive, eight-week period.

“It is a testament to the high quality of training these facilities offer and the dedication of their staff.  We value the support Oklahoma City is affording us,” said Scott Valenti, Director of the Pararescue Paramedic Program at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.   

“The USAF pararescue personnel complete their clinical training in very few select locations throughout the United States, and this is the first time hospitals in Oklahoma have participated.  INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center was reviewed by the United States Air Force as well as the University of New Mexico and selected as a hospital partner because of our standard of excellent patient care and our ability to train these elite rescuers. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner in training the most elite special operations medical rescuers in our armed forces,” said Terri Smith, Clinical Manager of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center.

“As a former military Army nurse corps officer, I know pararescue troops are essential to combat operations and training.  As the state’s only level one trauma center, we are uniquely positioned to provide training. We look forward to the opportunity” said Rowdy Anthony, Director of Emergency Department, OU Medical Center.

EMSA Director of Clinical Services and Army National Guard Captain Jim Winham says, “Students come from all over the country to learn alongside our medics, but to help train the men and women who are helping defend America’s freedom is a distinctive opportunity and true privilege. In addition to teaching the PJs about EMSA’s world class practice of medicine, we hope and expect to learn and grow ourselves as a result of working closely with these highly-skilled airmen.”

The PJs’ motto, “These Things We Do, That Others May Live,” affirms the force’s dedication and commitment to saving lives and self-sacrifice.  The PJs are the only Department of Defense elite combat forces specifically organized, trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full spectrum personnel recovery to include both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations.. There are more than 500 pararescuemen assigned to Guardian Angel and Special Tactics Squadrons throughout the Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve Air Force components. They execute the most perilous, demanding and extreme rescue missions across the globe, operating as independent teams or as attachments to U.S. and Allied Special Operations Forces.

All PJs are certified National Registry Paramedics and Battlefield Trauma medics. Their medical training includes the seven month Paramedic program followed by a combat medical course known as “Dirt Medicine.” In addition to completing clinical hours in Oklahoma City, the PJs have also partnered with health care agencies in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. The PJs will complete their training in Oklahoma City on July 8.

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