Mobile ICU saves lives 1 mile in sky at 140 mph

'We are their best friend on their worst day,' respiratory therapist says

By Melodi Smith - Multimedia Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - In the left pocket of his Florida Flight 1 flight suit, respiratory therapist Jon Inkrott carries two special things with him each day to work.

"I carry these every day. One of them is the coin that Mike (Marshall) gave us and the other is a safety challenge coin," Inkrott said.

These two men are talking and smiling now, but it was a very different situation eight months ago.

"May 18, 2017, I actually went into cardiac arrest and was taken care of by the local fire department, Orange City Fire Department and Volusia County Emergency Medical Services, Marshall told News 6. 

Marshall's heart started back up, but doctors knew that he needed further care in Orlando and he needed that care fast. His help came from Florida Flight 1, Florida
Hospital's highly skilled flight team, which provides life-saving care in a mobile intensive care unit. It has a crew of three: pilot, registered nurse, and respiratory therapist.

The team takes care of the most-critically ill patients. 

"I'm kind of the airway expert on the ventilator expert. I assist the nurse if they need assistance and they assist me if I need assistance. But we worked together to kind of make sure that the patient has the best care possible," Inkrott told News 6. His position is rare because not all flight crews have a respiratory therapist on board. 

And that care came with a personal touch. Marshall's family told him about the kindness that Inkrott extended to members of his family. 

Inkrott called them and let them know Marshall made it to the hospital. 

"He actually came and checked on me almost every day," Marshall said. "He brought my wife cups of coffee in the morning and came in to check on me see how I was doing, as far as being on the ventilator, because he is a registered respiratory therapist so he would look to make sure that I was doing ok and tolerating the event and seeing how things were going." 

Marshall presented each person who helped with his care a token of his appreciation. 

"Everybody from the flight team and everybody that had a part of taking care of me that day I felt the need ... (Sorry, I am going) to get emotional. I felt the need to get them something, because of what they did for me. And I still carry one myself, too," Marshall said. 

Inkrott told News 6 his passion is to get results and to see his patients healthy again.

"When we get a patient ... (who) comes back and sees us, or somebody that we can see in the same day who's done well, that's the best paycheck you can imagine. To be able to show up every day and to get a live paycheck for what I do, that's great. But to see our patients succeed and this year patients get better, that's why we do what we do," Inkrott said. 

"We're their best friend on their worst day. We're going to take care of them and we're going to get them here safely. And our doctors will take care of them as well," Inkrott said.

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