Drones Could Help Quicken Response for Medical Emergencies

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have the potential to save lives by delivering medicines faster than ambulances in crowded cities, especially during peak rush hours, new research has found.

Mark Hanna, lead author“Drones, when used appropriately, represent the ideal marriage between enhanced pre-hospital care and telemedicine for our future.”

"This may prove to be profound in the unique pediatric setting." Hanna added.

The researchers found that drones arrived faster than ambulances when transportation times were compared during peak rush hour in Brooklyn, New York.

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If drones were equipped with two-way communication and possible life-saving interventions, they could save lives by responding to emergency conditions such as acute anaphylaxis, opiate overdose, asthma, cardiac arrest and sarin poisoning, said Hanna.

The analysis compared data for Emergency Medical Services and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight data within a zip code in urban Brooklyn, finding the drone response faster than the standard EMS ambulance response, especially during peak rush hours.

The UAV flight data was collected during actual flights recorded while flying under US Federal Aviation Administration and New York City laws in a commercially available drone, Hanna said.

The researchers found that during rush hours drones could reach critically ill patients three minutes faster than paramedics.

"Possible life saving interventions with first response associated with UAS can include acute anaphylaxis, opiate overdose, asthma, cardiac arrest, and sarin poisoning as these conditions have been associated with decreased mortality based on time to intervention by first responders," said the research.

The findings were scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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