Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States. The odds of surviving a heart attack outside of a hospital is only 8%. Four out of five heart attacks occur at home where there is no emergency equipment. Once the heart stops, brain death occurs in 4-6 minutes. The average ambulance response time is 10 minutes. Alec Momont, a graduate student at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, has designed a drone that can respond within a minute of dispatch because it is not affected by road traffic. This could increase the heart attack survival rate.
The top speed of the drone is about 60 mph and can fly to patients within 7.4 miles via GPS coordinates. It has a carbon body and weighs four pounds. It has a defibrillator built in, along with a live camera and audio connection, so the emergency operator can observe the scene and provide those assisting the patient with verbal instructions on how to use the paddles.
Medical professionals are interested in the system, and it could be put in action within five years. The drone still needs to improve its ability to avoid obstacles. The FAA will be releasing new drone usage guidelines next year, and this invention could turn into a reality. The drone’s promotional video does not show the importance of chest compressions, which may be neglected while someone is out searching for the delivered drone. An ambulance should arrive soon after the unit, so the drone will not be a replacement for, but an assistant to, emergency medical personnel. Each unit will cost $24,000.
Winter, Lisa. “‘Ambulance Drone’ Could Drastically Increase Heart Attack Survival.” Health and Medicine. IFLScience, 5 Nov 2014. Web. 16 Nov 2014.
Wood, Colin. “Ambulance Drones May Save Lives.” Public Health. Emergency Management, 11 Nov 2014. Web. 16 Nov 2014.