Drone delivers simulated blood products to rooftop of the Montreal General Hospital

Drone delivers simulated blood products to rooftop of the Montreal General Hospital

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, a drone transported simulated blood products to the rooftop of the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) of the McGill University health Centre (MUHC) in a groundbreaking experiment led by Dr. Valérie Homier, emergency physician at the MUHC and a specialist in emergency medicine. This was the first experiment of its kind in Canada.

In total, the drone landed on the MGH with attached simulated blood products nine separate times. Simultaneously, during each flight, a batch of simulated blood products was also transported from the Héma-Québec distribution centre to the MGH by vehicle. Researchers compared the quickness and efficiency of using a drone compared to vehicle transportation. In addition, they monitored the temperature of the simulated blood products during all transports.

“If drones are deemed an effective means of transport for blood products, lives could potentially be saved,” says Dr. Homier. “This is especially true in mass casualty situations, where on-ground traffic and road closures can cause deadly delays.”

Collaborators included: Héma-Québec research division (Danny Brouard and his team), MGH Blood Bank representatives (Guylaine Desnoyers, Ann Wilson, and Dr. Patricia Pelletier), MUHC Department of Emergency Measures represented by Salah Hadj Amara, MUHC Department of Technical Services represented by Mohamed Merheb, Urgences-santé represented by Eddy Afram, InDro Robotics represented by Philip Reece, Exo-Tactik represented by Anne-Sophie Bouvier, County of Renfrew Paramedic Service represented by Chief Michael Nolan, Airbiz represented by Martin Leprohon, as well as Drs. Elene Khalil, Richard Fleet, Marie-Andrée Roy, and François de Champlain, and medical students Frédéric Grou-Boileau and Melissa McDonald.

Delivering an AED via drone: a first in Quebec

That same day, Dr. François de Champlain, emergency physician at the MUHC and president of the Jacques-de Champlain Foundation, led the delivery of an automated external defibrillator (AED) during a simulated cardiac arrest that occurred at the Mount Royal Belvedere.

“When someone goes into cardiac arrest, the key is getting them that first choc from the defibrillator as fast as possible,” he explains. “The chance of survival decreases by around 10 per cent every minute of delay. Delivering an AED by drone is a fascinating endeavour that I hope will come into effect in the next five years.”

Collaborators included the Jacques de Champlain Foundation, represented by Dr. François de Champlain and Mr. Jean-Philippe Larose.

You can download the AED-Quebec app to localize the nearest AED to you: https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/dea-quebec/id1021844069?l=fr