health

How Drones Could be lifesaving in an emergency

Researchers are studying how disaster drones could deliver medicine to remote locations and carry medical kits to victims in mass casualty events, even before ambulances arrive.

In Sweden, researchers conducted 18 drone test flights and compared the dispatch and travel times to traditional emergency medical services.

Jonas Ekstromer/AFP/Getty Images

Drones arrived more quickly in all cases and reduced response time by an average of 16 minutes.

Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

During a medical emergency, those minutes can be the difference between life and death.

Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers have been working on various drone telemedicine prototypes, including:

Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • A kit designed to treat snake bites and bee stings in the wilderness
  • A method to transport blood samples for quick, in-the-field diagnoses
  • And a defibrillator drone for heart attack patients

The test drones also include exploratory features like:

Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

  • Audio or video communication systems to deliver treatment instructions
  • Infrared sensors to help drones navigate locations
  • Cell phone transmissions to help with accurate delivery

Even something as simple as just delivering medicine in rural locations could save lives.

Tim C. Cox