Disaster drone, a life saving measure

Italo Subbarao, a disaster medicine expert and senior associate dean of William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), and Guy Paul Cooper Jr., a fourth-year medical student at the same college, developed the Telemedical Drone Project, which is also called HiRO (Health Integrated Rescue Operations). At the heart of the project was a simple question − which one is faster, a disaster drone or an ambulance car?

A Swedish research team tested the theory. It had a drone and emergency vehicle deliver automated external defibrillator (AED) simultaneously to same locations 18 times. Every time the drone would arrive first to the spot 3.2 kilometers away, with the average advantage of 16 minutes. The preliminary results were published in JAMA Magazine.

According to Subbarao, the drones could come equipped with different types of medical kits, from the general medical emergency gear to antidotes or trauma kits which are intended for the events such as terrorist attacks. There is also the possibility to equip drones with video phone, which would help bystanders in delivering first aid.

In spite of many advantages of the devices, further research needs to be conducted before putting them in use. The drones were made by Hinds Community College from Raymond, Mississippi.


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