The company Blade used to be a high-end helicopter taxi service, but recently they’ve also moved into the business of saving lives.
Blade helicopters are delivering organs to patients as part of the Medi mobility program.
We had the equipment that was available and dedicated to us.
We have the dedicated infrastructure at all three New York City heliports,
and we have 24/7 coverage in terms of our flyer relations and operations team,
so we had all the pieces of the puzzle to do something like this.
Delivering organ transplants is a race against time.
Before now, when an organ became available, doctors had to drive to the nearest airport, fly to neighboring cities,
then drive again to get to the patient, and all this had to be done in four hours.
That’s the time limit on the viability of an organ.
From the moment that we cut off the blood supply to the heart in order to transport it to our recipient center,
that period of time is what’s known as ischemic time,
basically time where the heart is not receiving any blood or oxygen and on some small scale, the cells are beginning to die,
NYU Langone Health, where Dr. Carillo works was the first to test the Medi mobile program, and it was an instant success, cutting the travel time from four to two hours.
When we get off the helicopter, we unload the cooler thankfully it’s right across the street.
Before Medi mobile, doctors would sometimes turn down available organs because they knew they couldn’t get there in time.
Nathan Alexander is head of rotorcraft operations at Blade,
and ever since the company started the program, he has been working practically 24/7, coordinating the flights to save lives.
The organs are actually in route at the moment directly to East 34th Street.
We’ll have an ambulance standing by upon landing to bring the crew over to Langone. We’ll help expedite the transfer process.
Inside the Blade office, all flights carrying donor organs are highlighted in red and have priority over others.
Even just watching the doctors get off the helicopter is…it’s just sort of moving like,
wow, the burden of what we’re doing and how much of an impact it has that there’s someone at NYU waiting to receive that organ.
It’s gonna allow them to continue to live which is I think remarkable.
If the experiment keeps working efficiently and effectively, Blade hopes to start working with more clinics over time.