A 71-year old man suffered a cardiac arrest but an autonomous drone flew in to save his life.
The event occurred in Trollhattan, Sweden, as a man shovelled snow outside his home, he felt shortness of breath as his health deteriorated and the doctor rushed to him and was delivered a defibrillator through the drone.
Speaking to the media, the patient who preferred not to be named, hailed the instant delivery that eventually proved life-saving to him.
The drone company intended to set the defibrillation to function even before the ambulance could reach the scene.
According to Everdrone, within almost 3 minutes from the alarm, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was delivered to the spot.
Though the patient had foggy memory about the incident and what had actually happened. He was busy clearing his driveway and sweeping thick snow heaped there when he suddenly felt sheer darkness everywhere and cardiac arrest hit.
His wife thanked their luck.
Dr Mustafa Ali, who was driving on the nearby road, saw him and rushed to his help and revealed to Everdrone, “I was on my way to work at the local hospital when I looked out the car window and saw a man collapsed in his driveway.
“The man had no pulse, so I started doing CPR while asking another bystander to call 112 (the Swedish emergency number).
“Just minutes later, I saw something flying above my head. It was a drone with a defibrillator.”
Everdrone chief executive Mats Sallstrom truly thinks that the technology has played a dominant role in saving patient’s life.
He informed British media, “It’s a medical doctor doing CPR, it’s the early defibrillation, it’s the treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.”
“It’s important to understand that there’s a chain of events saving the person’s life, and the drone is a very critical part of how that system works.”
The drone is the result of a partnership between Karolinska Institutet which is Sweden’s biggest medical university and Region Vastra Gotaland and Everdone, which is national emergency operator SOS Alarm.
In 2020, the group started exploring the use of drones to distribute defibrillators in Gothenburg and Kungalv, which is a region in western Sweden.
The Karolinska researchers carried out a four-month study and uncovered that drones were dispatched to 12 out of 14 cases of suspected cardiac arrest and successfully delivered an AED in all cases.
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In fact, in seven cases, drones reached earlier than the ambulances.
However, in the month of December, the doctor was found close to the patient, which reveals good luck, but then questions surface if the general public would know operating a defibrillator without sufficient medical training.
In the 2020 study, patients were not attached to any devices and no clear reasons are there.
Mr. Sallstrom opines such are meant for an untrained person to use as he added, “In these scenarios, you are also on the phone to the emergency centre and they can guide you.”
Since 2020, Everdrone hails the system which has gained speed and the focus is now made to work closely with the dispatchers who also instruct the people present on location.
Everdrone considers taking the technology to other countries, including the UK – though the firm would not disclose which countries does it hold discussions with.
In the UK, in some emergency services, drones are already put in use. In initial days of 2021, an elderly gentleman was saved when a police drone located him after he went missing for almost 18 hours.
Raring To Go:
Everdrone credits the decency in Swedish system, to coherently integrated system which is raring to go.
The drone system is deeply circuited with the emergency dispatch system and is always ready to rise higher as soon as emergency call is received. Mr Sallstrom informs.
Although, the drone is autonomous but still, “pilot in command” is present, who looks after the operations for safety reasons and can even seek clearance to take off from air traffic control.
Mr Sallstrom reveals, “This might seem like a huge process but roughly 60 seconds from the alarm we can be on our way.”
Evidently enough, time is precious when there is a medical emergency and survival chances get weaken by 7-10% as each minute passes through without any help.
And Everdrone thinks about other medical devices which can be delivered through drones to remote areas.
Besides, road congestion can be a major obstacle to medical supplies transfer but the drones can leave the cars behind by taking aerial route.
“I’m very, very happy. I think it’s fantastic that they came so quickly,” he says.