Maj. Jeffrey DellaVolpe – Air Force Reserve Presents Profiles in Leadership
Maj. Jeffrey DellaVolpe, an Individual Mobilization Augmentee in the Air Force Reserve, is one of less than a handful of military doctors qualified in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. His expertise, which involves artificially oxygenating and circulating blood through the body when the heart and lungs fail, was called on Thanksgiving Day 2017 to save the life of a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician gravely wounded in Syria. DellaVolpe, assigned to the 959th Medical Operations Squadron, Brooks Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, let his team to Iraq to stabilize the sailor in the first-ever medical rescue flown from the continental U.S. to an overseas location for a combat casualty. “This was about as complex as a mission can get,” said DellaVolpe, crediting his logistics and personnel Airmen with getting them out on time. The major and his team arrived in Baghdad 30 hours after initial notifications, stabilized the sailor by placing him on ECMO and accompanied him on the long flight back to Texas. Seventy-two hours after the mission began, the sailor was stateside in an intensive care unit. The citizen Airman, who is also an ECMO doctor in the ICU at San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital, said the Air Force Reserve was his ticket to staying in the service after active duty. The program was a win-win for him and Air Force: DellaVolpe gains experience in his field at a busy civilian hospital and the Air Force retains a doctor in a niche medical field. “The Air Force Reserve allows me to serve my country and to play a role in a mission I care about and believe in. It is incredibly gratifying when you can save a life.”
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