CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A 72-year-old Colorado man, who is said to be seriously ill with COVID-19, was flown back to the state from Peru in an air ambulance early Sunday morning.
The man is now getting treated at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. His wife is set to be flown back to Colorado Monday.
“That is a very challenging mission even with the capabilities, because it involves putting together a lot of stake holders across international jurisdictions,” said Shai Gold, Jet Rescue Air Ambulance managing director.
Gold said the couple went to Peru before the country was in a lockdown and airports were closed. Then they contracted the virus and needed to get out.
He said their insurance company, Aetna, contacted Jet Rescue, one of the few international air ambulance companies that’s flying COVID-19 patients back to the United States.
“In addition to carrying a critically ill patient, who’s elderly, high-risk and obviously not doing well, it took the remarkable effort of a lot of individuals,” Gold said.
Jet Rescue worked with the U.S. Embassy in Peru, along with local government officials, to get special permission for a private jet to land and transport the patient.
The jet is outfitted with an isolation unit that surrounds the patient and has an intensive care unit doctor on board, along with a portable ventilator.
Gold said Jet Rescue is using its last two HEPA filters to fly the Colorado couple home and is now begging manufacturers for more, so it can help other international COVID-19 patients.