The City of Ghent signs a Manifesto of Intent to facilitate feasibility studies for developing a prototype ‘ambulance drone’ application.

Sudden death from cardiac arrest is one of the main reasons for death worldwide. One can potentially save many lives – and improve the quality of survival – if one would be able to defibrillate within the first minutes after cardiac arrest. Despite a well-organized system of emergency medical services in Belgium, emergency services only arrive in about 50% of all interventions within these first minutes.

A drone can save human lives

The use of an ‘ambulance drone’ with built-in defibrillator, medical ‘toolbox’ and camera would result in considerable time savings. Previous research has shown that drones would in most cases manage to bring an AED (and other life-saving medication) next to the patient in less than 5 minutes. In addition, the 112 dispatcher can monitor what is happening by the camera and better guide the caller.

Resuscitation sessions in 10 Ghent neighbourhoods

The City of Ghent is aware of the problems of the current emergency medical services in not being able to provide timely critical care to patients in cardiac arrest. Since sudden death due to heart failure occurs mainly in the home environment, the city of Ghent organized resuscitation sessions in 10 Ghent neighbourhoods in the wake of the ‘European Restart a Heart Day’ in October and November 2017, in which experts learned the right resuscitation actions and showed how an Automatic External Defibrillator ( AED) works.

This project is of a completely different order, but has the same higher goal: saving people’s lives by providing the necessary medical care in time.

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