Hyderabad: To explore the hugely untapped potential of drones in handling health emergencies, city-based Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) is set to launch the initiative of engaging Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in handling trauma cases.
Given the fact that road accidents are time sensitive, drones have a huge potential to quickly deliver medical aid like a trauma kit at the scene of the accident, which will be useful for emergency medical responders at the spot.
There are statistics that point out that 60 per cent the road accident victims die before reaching hospital and a majority of the fatalities were due to bleeding, as they do not get treatment at the right time.
“Our aim is to apply drone technology for quick treatment of trauma victims. We will create a batch of trained personnel who can handle drones deftly and also first responders who can treat patients,” says K. Devender, Manager for Active Bleeding Control training programme, EMRI.
Road accidents have promising applications for drones because a majority of them are witnessed by bystanders. Last year, EMRI had conducted a training programme to equip bystanders in Active Bleeding Control (ABC) to save lives and such bystanders can save lives if they have access to trauma kits, which will be delivered through drones.
“There are several challenges in the use of UAVs, especially with the security agencies, which routinely impose ban on their use for civilian purposes. We are in touch with authorities for permissions to apply UAV technology for trauma cases,” Devender said.
The application of drones in healthcare sector is not new in Hyderabad, as a similar initiative was earlier attempted by researchers from Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH).
In a pilot study, the IIPH researchers headed by Dr Suresh Munuswamy used drones to deliver TB drugs at a PHC in Moinabad, Rangareddy district.
The project was to explore the possibility of using drone to transport medicines to chronic patients who need fixed amount of drugs every month. The drones were used to transport drugs from a central warehouse to the PHC, then to sub-centres and directly at the patient’s doorstep.