Donations of vital human organs like hearts and livers will happen faster and more reliably for patients in and around Utah. That’s because of a recently acquired high-speed jet at Intermountain Life Flight.
The new aircraft is a Cessna CJ4. It’s filled with medical equipment and storage, kind of like a flying ICU. Life Flight bought the jet last year and recently finished outfitting it for organ transport.
Tracy Schmidt is the executive director of Intermountain Donor Services, the group that retrieves donated organs in the region. He says this jet will be faster than Life Flight’s turbo prop planes and helicopters that they relied on before. There also weren’t dedicated jets available for their organ collection so they had to hire them from commercial carriers.
"We were not able to get jets quick enough to get where we needed to get to and opportunities were being lost to be able to get organs here," Schmidt says.
The jet cost about $7 million dollars when completed. Intermountain Donor Services handles organs donated in Utah, Southern Idaho and about half of Nevada. The new jet will also pick up matches for patients throughout the United States.