Last week, the University of Maryland Medical Center said that for the first time, a drone has delivered a kidney to a woman who then underwent a successful transplant.
The drone developers said that the unmanned aircraft delivery could soon become the safest, fattest and cost-effective method for beating the organ transplant clock. It was developed by physicians, researchers and aviation and engineering experts from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The 44-year-old Trina Glispy who received the organ said, “This whole thing is amazing. Years ago, this was not something that you would think about.”
Transportation is one of the most crucial and complex steps when it comes to the organ transplant process. The faster it is transplanted, the better it works. Typically, donor organs are delivered through chartered or commercial flights. And sometimes, busy air traffic can cause delays, while an organ is left on a plane.
The flight that delivered the organ to the transplant team at the Baltimore-based hospital took around 5 minutes.
The transplant team’s leader and an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Dr. Joseph R. Scalea said he pursued the project after constant problems and frustration over organs taking too much time to reach his patients. With each passing second, the organs removed from donors become less healthy.
Dr. Scalea said, “Had I put that in at nine hours, the patient would probably have another several years of life. Why can’t we get that right?” Ms. Glispy has been doing well after the surgery. She expressed gratitude as she recalled her worst fears when she had to undergo years of painful treatment.