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Drones can safely carry blood bags

It's good news for rescuers who can't wait for life-saving supplies.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 7, 2016
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Johns Hopkins Medicine

Paramedics and rescue teams can't always afford to wait for blood supplies, especially when they're in remote locations where most vehicles would take too long (or can't visit at all). However, they might not have to worry for much longer. Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that it's safe to carry large bags of blood products (such as transfusions) using drones. In a study, they discovered that the robotic fliers didn't affect the chemical, hemotological or microbial traits of samples flown at an altitude of 328 feet, even when carrying it as far as 12 miles away. So long as the blood is kept in a temperature-monitored cooler, it's usable almost right away.

There are some steps that you'd likely want to implement before this is used in the field. It would ideally use active cooling that maintains a fixed temperature, for starters. Even so, the findings are encouraging. Rescuers could get additional blood bags within minutes, or travel light with the knowledge that supplies will be waiting for them when they reach an accident scene. Also, rural communities wouldn't have to worry as much about restocking their blood inventory So long as drone flights are within range, even a village clinic might have ample supply on hand.

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