BOLTON, Miss.- Representatives from Homeland Security, Federal law enforcement agencies, the United Nations, Hinds Community College, and William Carey University gathered to showcase the newest Osteopathic Emergency Physicians’ new Medical Disaster Drone, HiRO (Health Integrated Rescue Operations.)
The drone is a product of the Telemedical Drone Project. This was a collaboration by Dr. Italo Subbarao, senior associate dean at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Guy Paul Cooper Jr., a fourth year medical student at WCUCOM.
The two were studying medical responses that come from situations like the EF-4 tornado that devastated Hattiesburg on February 10, 2013. For the past two years they have been developing prototypes to support rural and wilderness medical emergencies.
“Reaching the victims is the critical challenge in these situations. As an osteopathic physician my goal was to find ways to help save lives. A medical drone is the bridge that delivers life-saving treatment directly to victims, giving remote (access to) physician’s eyes, ears and voice to instruct anyone on site,” said Dr. Subbarao, a nationally recognized expert in disaster and emergency medicine.
Together they approached experts from Hinds Community College to design a disaster drone that would carry the designed telemedical packages to adverse conditions.
“We developed a way to reach people so we developed a drone. but we also wanted a way to diagnose and treat people, so we added equipment not only to treat some trauma, but potentially allergic reactions,” said Cooper.
The kits come with equipment like Google Glass, to allow whoever is accessing the supplies to be in contact with a physician who can see what is happening and provide instruction.
Guest Speaker, Richard Patrick Senior adviser to the Chief medical officer with Homeland Security made his way to the stage to discuss what an integral part these drones can play in the national “Stop the Bleed” initiative.
“In one division we provide general policy for the 260,000 member work force, all the way from the Secret Service to the Coast Guard. We also work with operational medicine. We run the united states by-watch system, but we also run it’s EMS system, which is the second largest in the U.S. government,” said Patrick.
The drones are operated by using a GoPro to allow visuals while flying. Through a remote control operator they are directed to the emergency situation and once they have arrived the telemedical packages are dropped for assistance.
The individual accessing the packages is then talked through the appropriate medical care by a physician through audio and visual contact.
“These drones have impressive lift and distance capability, and can be outfitted with a variety of sensors, such as infrared, to help locate victims,” said Dennis Lott, director of the Unmanned aerial vehicle program at Hinds Community College.”Working together, we’re able to develop, test, and bring this technology to the field. It is just a matter of time before the drones are universally adopted for emergency and disaster response toolkits.”
The simulation of the drones was modified for Tuesday’s presentation due to overcast weather and regulations by the FAA.
The following video is a simulation of how the drones work: