According to the CDC, brain death happens only 4-6 minutes after cardiac arrest. Also, only eight percent of people who suffer a heart attack outside of the hospital survive.
Despite the efforts of first responders, traffic often makes it difficult for ambulances and EMTs to reach a heart attack victim in time.
That is where 23-year-old Alex Momont’s invention comes into play. Momont, an engineering graduate at Delft University of Technology has created a rapid response drone to do what a regular ambulance can’t.
The drone is able to fly at speeds of up to 60 mph, carrying a defibrillator and equipped with features that could reduce the time before a heart attack victim receives first aid, greatly increasing the chances of recovery.
The prototype drone is designed to be deployed when emergency services receive a cardiac arrest call. Without the constraints of traffic and roads, the drone, in theory, could arrive at the scene faster than an ambulance.
Some would argue that only an EMT can use a defibrillator correctly and that a civilian could do more harm to the victim if they are unsure how to administer the shock.
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Momont already thought this factor through. He built in a livestream audio and video connection that will allow medical professionals to deliver instructions to people at the site, viewing the situation through the webcam and talking the responder through the treatment — including how to use the defibrillator.
“It is essential that the right medical care is provided within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest,” Momont said. ‘If we can get to an emergency scene faster, we can save many lives and facilitate the recovery of many patients. This especially applies to emergencies such as heart failure, drownings, traumas and respiratory problems, and it has become possible because life-saving technologies, such as a defibrillator, can now be designed small enough to be transported by a drone.”
Unfortunately for Momont, current air traffic laws in most cities around the world prohibit the flying of autonomous drones. However, if these laws are lifted, the ambulance drone could be a break through in medical first response.
“The costs should not be an issue; I have calculated these at approximately €15,000 per drone, which is clearly a reasonable amount if you consider the number of lives that could be saved,” Momont said. “I hope it will save hundreds of lives in the next five years.”
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