US medical centre first to use unmanned aircraft for organ transport

May 8, 2019

In a first-ever organ delivery operation, a drone has been used to transport a kidney needed for transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMMC), US, where the specially-designed drone ended its 5km journey. A 44-year-old woman from Baltimore who was on dialysis for eight years received the kidney.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), US, has reported some 114,000 people on waiting lists for an organ transplant in the US in 2018, but current transport methods involve expensive chartered flights or variable commercial flights which occasionally result in delays. Nearly 4% of organ shipments had an unanticipated delay of two or more hours while 1.5% of deceased donor organ shipments did not make it to their intended destination. The figures seem unthreatening, but may be fatal in some situations.

The delivery was organised by a special company that manages data for organ shipments, in a system similar to Uber-like service. Its founder Dr. Joseph Scalea, who was also among the team of surgeons that performed the transplant at UMMC, has said drone deliveries could help overcome delays that destroy an organ’s viability in timely transplants. He was elated to announce that the less costly drone technology was successfully implemented into the current system of transportation for organ deliveries.


Category: Technology & Devices

Comments are closed.