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Doctor, Former Iranian Army Corporal, Works to Upgrade California SWAT Medical Team

COLTON - He's been an Iranian Army Corporal fighting Iraqi invaders, and seen first-hand the effects of mustard gas on people. He got close enough to the action to be hit by shrapnel from a 60mm mortar.

He was beaten and tortured in several Iranian prisons, before being smuggled out of the country.

Now, Dr. Michael Neeki, an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, is on the front lines again.

He's a member of the Rialto SWAT team, working to upgrade the medical assistance team members can deliver in the field. He's certified to carry a gun and participates in the team's tactical drills.

"He's a guy you want input from because he is so knowledgable. He's been there and done that and seen the worst of everything," said Andy Lore, 33, a Rialto paramedic for 14 years.

"The things he brings up and talks to us about are amazing," said Lore, who has been a member of the SWAT team for 18 months.

Where Neeki did his residency in emergency medicine, there was a tie-in to area SWAT teams. He now wants to expand the emergency medicine residency at ARMC to give young doctors here that exposure and - at the same time - elevate the skill levels of paramedic team members.

He envisions ARMC residents playing roles in the developing field of tactical medicine by connecting with several area SWAT teams.

Neeki said it is important for SWAT team paramedics to have advanced training in wound care, airway management techniques, and procedures for spinal injuries.

"I like the personalities of people" in public safety arenas, he said. "They are self-driven and committed to society," he said.

Neeki said that the specialized training ARMC's emergency room doctors and their residents could provide would be a great "legacy" for the institution.


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