The University of Maryland Medical Center just made history by being the first to transport a kidney needed for transplantation by a drone.
The drone was specially designed to monitor the kidney along its five-kilometer-long journey to deliver the organ to a 44-year-old woman from Baltimore who had been waiting for a transplant for eight years.
The drone flight required a special clearance from aviation regulators.
One of the team of surgeons who performed the transplantation, Doctor Joseph Scalea, explained that drone deliveries could help overcome delays that destroy an organ's viability.
“The next run could be over 30 miles, or 100. The distance is relatively unimportant. The most important part is, we were able to implement drone technology into the current system of transplantation and transportation,” he told AFP.
Around 1.5% of deceased donor organ shipments did not make it to their intended destination while nearly 4% of organ shipments had an unexpected delay of two or more hours.