Researchers compare drones to ambulances for emergency medical response

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Researchers have compared how quickly drones could respond to a medical emergency in New York to ambulances to assess their suitability for future use.

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

The research, “Utility of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Inner City Emergent Response During Peak Rush Hour Traffic” was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, USA this week.

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

Dr Hanna said, “Drones, when used appropriately, represent the ideal marriage between enhanced prehospital care and telemedicine for our future. This may prove to be profound in the unique pediatric setting.”

The analysis compared data for emergency medical services (EMS) 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 Federal Aviation Administration and New York City laws in a commercially available drone, Dr. Hanna said.

The author suggests that advances by the FAA have resulted in greater utility to both civilian and medical personnel. Yet, medical intervention by unmanned aircrafts in times of critical need is limited and largely not studied within the United States.

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