BALTIMORE, MD (WJZ / CNN) – A new application of drone technology may end up saving countless lives.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine joined the engineering school to successfully deliver a kidney to surgeons using a drone.
From west Baltimore, a drone carrying a human organ was launched. It landed 4.5 km away at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The kidney was then successfully transplanted to a patient, saving his life.
This first trip of the genre has the potential to revolutionize the organ transplant process.
"This will have a direct impact on improving patient outcomes where time is critical," said Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of medical school.
When performing an organ transplant, figuring out how to get it quickly to the recipient is usually the most complicated part. Any delay can destroy the organ's viability.
"The system is broken and needs to be repaired. It takes a lot of time, it's not safe and it's very expensive, "said Dr. Joseph Scalea, assistant professor of surgery.
The new technology has the potential to make it cheaper, faster and more reliable.
It could also expand the pool of donor agencies and improve access for people in rural communities.
"Medicine has become the silo of all these beautiful innovations that are right in front of us. We can implement them to improve service to the system. It's time to adapt, "Scalea said.
The University of Maryland is working with three organ procurement organizations across the country to begin slowly implementing the use of drones.
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