Drones Deliver Blood to Swedish Hospitals

Small drone flying

writer icon Samuel Christiansen     Dose Media   |   Tech     🕐 15. Jul. 2019

Transporting blood and lab results using drones can soon become reality in Sweden. The Sahlgrenska University Hospital (SU) is currently testing this new transportation method on a 4.5km distance between Mölndal and SU hospitals.

The new and slightly unusual method is being tested to be used primarily in urgent medical situations where factors like traffic jams and roadside accidents could slow down blood being transported between hospitals markedly, according to Dagens Nyheter (DN).

"Sometimes the 'blood [transporting] vehicle' is stuck in rush hour traffic, and for that reason the time-saving can become enormous [when] using drones" according to Magnus Kristiansson, project leader at 'Innovationsplattformen', a part of Sahlgrenska University Hospital (SU).

Much faster than by car
Preliminary studies have shown that using drones as a method of transport can speed up the process of a hospital receiving blood for its patients, for transfusions and surgeries, by as much as 50 - 70 percent faster than by car over the same distance.

The method does not however come without its share of controversy. Nicoló Dell'Unto at Lund's University tells DN about his general concerns regarding drones, noting that "[t]here are risks and ethical considerations that need to be evaluated". In addition, factors pertaining to ow blood is affected by air transport needs to be thoroughly assessed as well.

SEK 6 million development assistance
In the Nordic country, the Swedish Energy Agency has granted SEK 6 million grant to help develop self-flying drones assist in delivering medicines.

Sweden is not the only country look to expand the horizon when it comes to medical applications and uses for drones. DN also shares that Rwanda is already in the process of transporting blood using the unmanned vehicles to its hospitals and infirmaries.

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