“From the first call made to 112 (the emergency number, editor’s note) until the drone received the signal to start and leave, it took about 15 to 30 seconds. The whole process lasted about three and a half minutes, ”Sven, who prefers to keep his last name silent, told AFP.
At the beginning of December, this inhabitant of Trollhattan in the west of Sweden, clears the snow in front of his home when he is sick.
The septuagenarian can count on luck since a doctor – Mustafa Ali – passing by to get to work, will stop immediately to perform a first cardiac massage while Sven’s wife contacts the emergency number. Faster than an ambulance, it arrived on the scene in less than four minutes.
Essential for patients away from hospitals
The defibrillator by drone arrived, Mustafa Ali will then get down to revive Sven’s heart with the machine. Combined with rapid resuscitation and drugs administered in the ambulance which arrived a few minutes later, for the doctor, the device “really helped” to save the man’s life.
“I think it’s a very good tool, especially when it comes to patients far from the nearest hospital,” explains the doctor. Using winches, the defibrillator was lowered without the machine needing to land.
A project that covers 200,000 people
The use of medical drones is part of a project led by the company Everdrone in the region of Gothenburg (west), in collaboration with the Resuscitation Science Center of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the Swedish emergency service SOS Alarm and the regional health authority.
The network can currently reach 200,000 residents in Sweden and “is expected to expand to other locations in Europe during the year 2022,” the company said in a statement.
In the future, drones could also be equipped with other medical equipment, according to Everdrone. “One could imagine that these drones deliver trauma kits in various situations (…) to go to islands that are difficult to reach or to other places where it is difficult to go”, suggests the CEO of Everdrone, Mats Sällström, interviewed by AFP.
“We started with the defibrillator because it is an event where time is running out” and where a drone can really make a difference, he concluded.