AdventHealth adds 2nd medical helicopter to meet growing population demand

Demand for medical helicopter sees 57% increase from 2018 to 2022

Minutes matter in medical emergencies and as Central Florida’s population grows, AdventHealth’s flight rescue team said they’re getting more calls.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Minutes matter in medical emergencies and as Central Florida’s population grows, AdventHealth’s flight rescue team said they’re getting more calls.

The hospital is expanding its operations to meet the booming demand.

The Flight 1 program offers ICU care in the air.

“All of the things we do in the ICU at Advent we can do in the helicopter,” Jon Inkrott, a registered respiratory therapist at AdventHealth said.

Inkrott spent nearly a decade taking care of the sickest of the sick as a member of the Flight 1 program. The flight rescue team transports critically ill patients from across Central Florida and the state to AdventHealth facilities. Inkrott said they typically take two to four flights a day.

“Wherever we need to get them quickly to get the care that they need,” he said.

Rob Deininger is the CEO of AdventHealth Orlando. He said as Central Florida’s population grows, the demand for Flight 1′s services also increases with multiple calls coming in at once and only one helicopter to respond.

“We have started to see that more and more in the last several years,” Deininger said.

From 2018 to 2022, demand for the Flight 1 program went up 57%, according to AdventHealth. Last year alone, the program transported 1,000 patients on board their helicopter.

“That was beginning to put a strain on our system. We’d have times where there would be delays. People might have to wait and that’s unacceptable,” Deininger said.

That’s why earlier this year the hospital added a second helicopter to its fleet. Both of the helicopters are now stationed at the hospital’s new hangar at the Orlando Executive Airport.

Deininger said the team can now respond to even more medical calls here in Central Florida and beyond.

“It does save lives. Time matters in everything that we’re talking about — whether it’s a stroke, a heart attack, respiratory distress — minutes matter, seconds matter and so how quickly we can get you into the right hands is probably the most important thing we can do for someone when they’re in that situation,” Deininger said.

The team is making sure the sickest patients get the critical care they need.

“Central Florida is just growing rapidly and this just allows us to expand our services to the patient population that we serve most,” Inkrott said.

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About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!