Recognized as one of the first emergency medical specialist in the nation, Dr. John R. Paluso died Thursday at his home in Hickory.
A former president of the Monongahela Valley Hospital Medical Staff (1992-1996), Paluso joined the health care system in 1968.
“Paluso was affiliated with our health system for almost 35 years,” said Anthony M. Lombardo, MVH chief executive officer. “Affiliated is a misnomer. In truth, he was a leader.”
Lombardi noted that at the hospital’s annual Gala in 1996, Paluso received the Sickman-Levin Award for Dimensions in Medicine.
And in May – at Gala 14 – Paluso received the Gibbons Award for Dimensions in Service for the Health, Social and Civic Well-Being of Area Residents.
The award was based on pioneering leadership in the development and support of emergency medical services, and for commitment to and participation in hospital community programs.
“He is the only physician in our healthcare system to be awarded for his professional acumen and his compassion,” Lombardi said. “And that, I think, says it all.”
In 1973, Paluso was instrumental in the formation of the Washington County Emergency Medical Council, one of the first county such organizations in Pennsylvania. He served as council president from 1973 to 1976.
Previously, he was medical director of one of the first certified emergency medical technician (EMT) programs in Pennsylvania. In 1973, he served as medical director of one of the first paramedic training programs in the state.
Paluso was founder and president of the Emergency Association of Southwestern
Pennsylvania; founder and president of STAT Emergency Physicians, and founder and president of EMCon Inc.
In addition, he was founder and board chairman of Emer Med, and founder of New Dimensions Inc.
Paluso belonged to numerous professional organizations, including the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Washington County EMS Council, the Washington County Medical Society and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Heart Association.
He was a charter member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Medical Services Institute.
Paluso served on the board of directors of the Society for the Education of Patients and Physicians.
In 1994, Paluso received the Physician Recognition Award from the Emergency Medical Services Institute.
In 1999, the Washington County EMS Council honored Paluso and Dr. William P. Pearson of Washington for contributing most to the development and support of emergency medical services in the county.
Paluso began his medical career in 1967 as chief emergency physician at The Washington Hospital. He joined the staff of the former Charleroi-Monessen Hospital as an emergency physician in 1968 and, in 1983, became MVH director of emergency medical services, a position he held until June 2001.
He maintained emeritus membership on the medical staff.
Paluso also served as a member and co-chairman of Mon-Vale Health Resources Inc. Fund Development Committee.
Active with many community organizations, Paluso served as vice chairman of the Mon-Vale Health Resources Foundation Advisory Committee.
A veteran, he worked as a quality control chemist at the H.J. Heinz Co. and as an industrial hygiene research chemist and supervisor at the Westinghouse Electric Co. Bettis Atomic Power Plant .
Paluso also served on the medical staffs at The Washington Hospital, St. Clair Memorial Hospital, McKeesport Hospital, and Greene County Memorial Hospital.