This world has seen flying monkeys, a disproportioned flying elephant, and even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So, why not a flying ambulance? And, no I don’t mean medevac.
As a student at Delft University (in the Netherlands), Alec Momont created what he calls the “Ambulance Drone.” Able to fly 62mph, this little sucker can deliver a much needed AED to heart attack victims. Where you had a ten minute response time, is now cut down to one (1).
Equipped with a GPS, camera, mic, and speaker a trained professional can guide an individual through each step of needed intervention. It can even fly itself to the caller’s location using their cell phone as the target (1).
This could be a wonderful thing. Everyone knows time is the enemy in any emergency. Who knows, maybe medical imaging could be done as well? How about blood readings? It could deliver time sensitive clot-busting medications to stroke victims, epi to the anaphylactic, or insulin to diabetics!
Renfrew County in rural Canada is already using a drone to size up scenes, determine safety, and locate patients. They have successfully integrated this technology with rules and civil regulations (2).
But can such a sue-happy atmosphere found in the US even allow such a device? I can see it now. The lawyers are gearing up for war and frivolity, armed with red tape and a whistle. What if someone grabs for it before it lands and cuts their hand? What about the training involved in flying this thing, the aviation laws, bad weather conditions, accidents, etc.? Remember when AED packs used to have razors to shave off hair? Yeah, they aren’t there anymore. Why? Because people kept suing the AED companies because they cut themselves.
Yes, some of these can be genuine concerns about drone use in this fashion. However, could this be a medical breakthrough, or simply another victim of red-tape, lawyers, and undue bureaucracy? Let’s hope not. Let’s hope the more popular great ideas like this become, the more pressured “the powers that be” will be open to advancements in emergency medicine.
What concerns do you have about this Ambulance Drone? What other uses could you see this having? Let me know!
And please check out the drone with the link below!
- Momont, Alec, “Drones For Good,” http://www.alecmomont.com/projects/dronesforgood/ (Accessed June 7, 2016).
- CBC News Ottowa, “Drone Aids Renfrew Paramedics in Life-threatening Situations,” 26 Nov 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/renfrew-ontario-paramedics-drone-1.3338234 (Accessed June 7, 2016.