Within the next few years, high flying drones above Montreal and in rural parts of Quebec could be used as life-saving delivery vehicles.
The unpiloted robotic aircrafts are being tested by emergency physicians at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) to deliver blood supplies and defibrillators.
“I’m very excited,” Dr. Valérie Homier of the MUHC said. “I think that drone technology will evolve and give us more and more opportunities.”
Dr. Homier is leading a research team studying the feasibility of drones to deliver blood supplies and other medical needs in emergency cases.
“This could be used in case of disaster, especially when the regular transportation routes for the vehicles are unusable,” she said.
The drones are also being tested to deliver defibrillators in places that are hard to reach for paramedics.
WATCH (Aug. 29, 2019): Prescription drugs delivered by drone
Providing medical attention with a jolt of electricity to someone who suffers from cardiac arrest is critical within the first few minutes.
“If you give that first shock within the first five minutes, you essentially will resuscitate about three persons out of four — 75 percent of the people will survive,” Dr. Francois de Champlain, lead researcher and emergency physician at the MUHC, told Global News.
Drone delivery capacity is already up and running in the county of Renfrew, Ont.
“We’ve had situations where we’ve located people who’ve wandered away. Maybe elderly with dementia, we’ve had a few of those situations,” Scott McLeod, a paramedic and drone pilot for Renfrew County told Global News.
Katrysha Gellis is a cardiac arrest survivor. Her work colleagues applied CPR and used a defibrillator several years ago to save her life.
While a drone wasn’t necessary to deliver the defibrillator — Gellis welcomes the advancement of drone technology.
“I think that having a drone to bring a defibrillator to the scene is incredible and I think it could save a lot of lives and make a big difference,” she said.