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Intermountain Life Flight unveils new medical jet

Intermountain Life Flight medical jet flies over a backdrop of snowy mountains
Intermountain Life Flight
Intermountain Life Flight's new medical jet flies over a backdrop of snowy mountains

The Challenger 604, Intermountain Life Flight’s new medical jet, is capable of long-distance flights and can accommodate up to two patients and their care teams. Kent Johnson, Director of Aviation Operations for Intermountain Life Flight, said demand for patient transport has increased in the past few years, and Intermountain’s existing fleet of one jet was not adequate.

“So we knew we needed a second jet. And we knew we needed a second jet that maybe had some more capability than what we had with the CJ 4. we wanted something with longer range, a larger cabin,” Johnson said.

The larger cabin of the Challenger 604 has already allowed patients like five-year-old Ezra Partridge to travel with life-saving equipment and healthcare professionals to receive specialized care. Zane Partridge said his son Ezra required a complex medical procedure called ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a delicate treatment that bypasses the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the blood.

“His case was too severe… interventions that they could provide wouldn't allow him to get off of ECMO. And so we came to a choice where we can just continue to wait, or there's this one guy who lives in Houston, Texas, who knows how to fix this situation. …And so Ezra took an awesome plane ride on this thing down to Houston, while on ECMO - on a machine that is keeping him alive. Without that machine, he would die,” Partridge said.

In Houston, Ezra underwent a procedure to restore his heart function and was able to get off of ECMO within days. He has since returned home to Draper to continue his recovery. His father said being able to travel to Houston for this procedure saved his son’s life.

“This is an important tool for the very special cases,” Partridge said.

Caroline Long is a science reporter at UPR. She is curious about the natural world and passionate about communicating her findings with others. As a PhD student in Biology at Utah State University, she spends most of her time in the lab or at the coyote facility, studying social behavior. In her free time, she enjoys making art, listening to music, and hiking.