Drones are revolutionising medical logistics
Last month, a 44 year old woman from Baltimore who had spent over 8 years on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, having to undergo frequent dialysis, finally received a successful kidney transplant that she desperately needed.
However, the surgery was not the only success that day. The kidney which was transplanted was delivered to the University of Maryland Medical Centre from a hospital 3 miles away, over a densely populated area via a custom-built drone.
The drone contains tracking monitors to keep track of the condition of the organ throughout the flight, with built in cameras and safety systems to ensure it’s safe delivery. With 13 people dying each day in the U.S waiting for a new kidney, and having new, safe and reliable service to transport organs to patients is vital. In 2018, according to the UNOS, 1.5% of organs did not make it to their destination, and more than 2700 kidneys had to be discarded due to decomposition before transplant. By utilizing methods of transportation which are at much less chance of delay, such as drone transport, this number can go down.
But America is not the only country utilizing drones as a method of rapid medical delivery. In Rwanda and Ghana, unmaintained roads, mountainous conditions and natural weather impedes safe and quick transportation of goods, leading to needless suffering for patients, and in some cases, death.
A company known as Zipline are using drones to deliver blood and urgent medicines safely and effectively. The drones are capable of flying at over 100km/h and are proven to be faster and more efficient than any other means of transportation. So far, these drones have delivered over 13,000 urgent packages to medical centres and care facilities.
It is hoped that further research into drone transportation can help people across the world, on both ends of the spectrum - such as Ghana and Rwanda where the lack of infrastructure makes access to essential medical needs much harder, and America and the United Kingdom where the overabundance of cars and congestion in densely populated areas can impede blood and organs from arriving where they need to be in time.
Drone technology may not be ready to completely revolutionise our methods of urgent transportation just yet, but as we can see here, important steps being taken to ensure that one day, it will.
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