Angels coming from the sky to save your life is not a myth anymore as drones can now deliver organs with more efficiency than the traditional ways of transport.
On April 19th, an unmanned aircraft or drone delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) flying from a hospital three miles (4.8 kilometers) far away. The kidney reached on time and was successfully transplanted into a patient with renal failure. This is the first time a drone delivered an organ for transplant.
The surgeons transplanted the donor kidney to the patient named Trina Glipsy, 44-year-old from Baltimore was on dialysis since 2011. She was discharged from the hospital a few days later after the surgery.
Aviation and Engineering experts at the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site, part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park custom designed the drone with eight rotors for better stability. Researchers created a special apparatus able to measure and maintain temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, vibration, and location, to ensure that the organ was kept in the best possible condition during the flight.
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Earlier the researchers tested the drone on transporting saline, blood tubes, and other materials, before working their way up to transporting a healthy but nonviable human kidney.
This is not the first time that drones were used in delivering medical supplies, stored in carefully controlled environments. For example, drones have been used to deliver medicines in Ghana and vaccines in Vanuatu.
However, delivering organs is really sensitive as the organs can survive for a few hours outside the body. According to data in the US, nearly 114,000 people were waiting for an organ transplant as of 2018, and about 4% of organ shipments had an unanticipated delay of two or more hours.