Drones can reach critically-ill patients three minutes faster than paramedics in busy cities, according to research.
Scientists compared the speed of paramedics and the unmanned gadgets during rush hour in Brooklyn, New York.
They found drones could get to patients in six-and-a-half minutes, as opposed to paramedics who took nine-and-a-half minutes to arrive.
Doctors now believe the gadgets could be adapted to carry life-saving medications and communicate with bystanders.
They suggest Epipens could be delivered to people suffering from anaphylaxis and inhalers to patients having asthma attacks.
And researchers suggest defibrillators could be flown and dropped at the scene for bystanders to use in the event of someone going into cardiac arrest.
Scientists from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn compared emergency service response times using the New York City public response network.
The drone times were collected during actual flights recorded while flying under US Federal Aviation Administration and New York City laws.
Researchers found the average time an ambulance responded to a life-threatening emergency call was nine-and-a-half minutes. They travelled at an average speed of 5mph as they weaved through traffic.
The drones made it to the scene in six-and-a-half minutes in all instances, travelling slightly faster at 6.5mph.
This meant the gadgets were 32 per cent faster at arriving to emergency calls and 53 per cent faster in non emergency circumstances.
The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lead author Dr Mark Hanna said: ‘Drones, when used appropriately, represent the ideal marriage between enhanced prehospital care and telemedicine for our future.
‘This may prove to be profound in the unique pediatric setting. UAS [Drone] response in acute medical interventions in an inner city environment will reach responders faster and more quickly than compared to standard EMS ambulance calls.
‘Possible life saving interventions with first response associated with UAS can include acute anaphylaxis, opiate overdose, asthma and cardiac arrest as these conditions have been associated with decreased mortality based on time to intervention by first responders.
‘Future investigation into how UAS systems are necessary in the future scope of emergent health management in the pediatric population.’
MailOnline reported in April that a kidney delivered by drone had been transplanted into a patient in need for the first time ever.
University of Maryland doctors and engineers worked together to create a custom, unmanned drone that could carry an organ with perfect stability.
They monitored it and communicated with the teams on the ground, as the 44-year-old’s new kidney travelled more than two miles.
27 October 2019