We might just have an innovative, safe, fast, inexpensive and effective way of delivering organs needed for transplant – through drones.
Yes, you read it right.
The Maryland Medical Center confirmed last week that a kidney delivered through a drone was used for a successful kidney transplant for a patient. The recipient was a 44-year old woman from Baltimore, Maryland who was on dialysis for a period of eight years before the transplant was done.
Before the organ was delivered, the drone was used to transport other items such as blood tubes, saline, and other equipment required for the procedure.
The entire process of delivery took a mere 10 minutes. The drone, which was custom-built to keep a check on the kidney when in air, took off at around 1 pm on 19th April and flew at an altitude of 400 feet.
The traditional modes of transporting organs through chartered flights or commercial flights are expensive, costing as much as $5,000. Also, many times, delays caused are due to air traffic regulations and controls.
This amazing invention was built by a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Maryland, and the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, which is a nonprofit organization that helps with organ donation and transplantation.
“As a result of the outstanding collaboration among surgeons, engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses, and, ultimately, the patient, we were able to make a pioneering breakthrough in transplantation,” said Joseph Scalea, project lead and one of the surgeons who performed the transplant.
He added, “There remains a woeful disparity between the number of recipients on the organ transplant waiting list and the total number of transplantable organs. This new technology has the potential to help widen the donor organ pool and access to transplantation.”
We hope that this new method of organ donation soon becomes more common, helping all those in need.
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