Doctors develop drones for aid in disasters

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Doctors develop drones to aid in disasters: Ali Gorman with Healthcheck on Action News at 5 p.m., October 9, 2017 (WPVI)

It looks like something you'd see in a futuristic action movie, but these high-tech drones, dropping interactive medical kits, could soon become a reality.

Doctor Italo Subbarao, an emergency and disaster specialist, said that the tornado in Mississippi highlighted a critical problem which we also saw with recent hurricanes.

"Trees were down, power lines were down, there was flooding and people were communicating but it was very difficult to get our first responders to those victim's homes," said Subbarao.

So a team from William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine started developing the telemedical drone system called Hiro-short for Healthcare Integrated Rescue Operations.

The drones drop kits, then with Bluetooth glasses and an audio device, a bystander can communicate with a doctor who's off-site.

The provider can assess several patients and give instructions to help.

The medical kit is equipped with diagnostic and life-saving supplies, including an AED, EpiPen, diabetes medication and an inhaler. Doctors can release them remotely.

The system works via cell or satellite communication. It's not intended to replace on-site care, but to buy time until first responders can reach the scene.

"With today's world, we feel this can be an essential tool to augment existing emergency response capabilities and resources," said Subbarao.

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