Drones in Emergency Situations – Part II

August 1, 2023


How can we use drones in emergency situations to improve recovery time, focus efforts, and save lives?

Drones in Emergency Situations - Part II

Heart attacks. Hemorrhaging. Remote snake bites. Allergic reactions. Heat stroke. Emergency surgeries.* There are countless cases where minutes mean the difference between life and death. Whether it be a densely populated urban area where traffic could cause delays or a vastly remote setting where vehicles might not be able to easily reach, uncrewed aircraft unlock the opportunity to save lives in these emergency medical situations. In the first part of our blog, we covered how UAS can be deployed in emergency external scenarios like natural disasters, mass casualty events, etc. This time we are focusing on 1:1 medical scenarios and asking, again, how can we use drones in emergency situations to improve recovery time, focus efforts, and save lives?

This is certainly a topic that is near and dear to MissionGO. In 2019, our founders made history by transporting the first successful organ delivery via uncrewed aircraft across the city of Baltimore, MD to a waiting patient. The patient, who had been on the waiting list for a donor kidney for years, is still the only human being alive that has an organ transported via UAS. This is just one of many incredibly impactful use cases where drones can be integrated into a supply chain system to increase the odds of and opportunities for survival rates. Read more about the full story and MissionGO’s medical delivery history in our recent white paper.


Faster than an Ambulance

No one hopes for a medical emergency, but everyone has a responsibility to be prepared for one – medical professional or not. In December of 2021, a 71-year old man suddenly went into cardiac arrest outside his house in Sweden. Fortunately for this individual, a doctor was driving by and stopped to help. Without a pulse, the doctor knew that this man had small chance of survival if he was unable to restart his heart in the next few minutes. A bystander called the emergency number and in just over 3 minutes, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was next to him… delivered via drone.[i] Not only was the aircraft able to deliver a life-saving tool, but drones also have the possibility to transmit critical patient information to EMS teams ahead of their arrival for even faster triage and prep. In addition to drones delivering supplies, “it is worth highlighting the incorporation of instruments to transmit bio-parameters such as body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and even electrocardiography or oxygen saturation so that emergency teams can prioritize care and consider in greater depth the characteristics of care that are going to be required.”[1]


Long Distance and Remote Areas

As early as 2016, the country of Rwanda has been deploying drones to transport blood transfusions to remote clinics around the country saving countless lives. Where previously blood requests and deliveries could take hours for a carrier to pick up and drop off, it can now be delivered in minutes – still cold and safe for use.[ii] Early in 2022, Peru started utilizing drones to bring medical supplies and products to communities in the Andes mountains – areas where it previously took several days to reach by foot or animal.[iii] Other use cases include the delivery of in-field trauma and blood kits to war zones where sending in medical staff is incredibly dangerous, transportation of anti-serums to hikers or search and rescue workers, and the potential for quick and precise drop-off of overdose antidotes. Since drones come in all shapes and sizes, they are not phased by altitude, distance, or crowds.


MissionGO’s history is intertwined with medical revolutions, being part of the first team to transport a human organ for transplant surgery in 2019. Since then, we’ve been dedicated to performing research flights that prove the viability of uncrewed aircraft in the medical field through innovative flights and deliveries of blood runs, human tissue and organs, medicines, vaccines and more. Check out Cargo Operations page for more information about our medical and commercial operations and let us know if you are looking for to partner with us on a future flight!


*Disclaimer: MissionGO does not suggest that any of this information be taken or valued over the advice of a medical professional. Our team is strictly focused on innovation in uncrewed aviation.



[1] Drone Applications for Emergency and Urgent Care: A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9280065/#r14

[i] ‘Truly Revolutionary’ Drone Saves Cardiac Arrest Patient’s Life in Medical First. https://www.newsweek.com/drone-saves-cardiac-arrest-patient-life-medical-first-defibrillator-everdrone-1666691

[ii] The American Drones Saving Lives in Rwanda. https://time.com/rwanda-drones-zipline/

[iii] Wingcopter Teams with UAV LATAM for Drone Delivery Operations in Peru. https://www.commercialuavnews.com/drone-delivery/wingcopter-teams-with-uav-latam-for-drone-delivery-operations-in-peru