The use of drones in today’s society has become commonplace –whether it’s the local real estate agent taking aerial shots of a recently listed mansion, or armed drone strikes in Afghanistan – drones have landed and are here to stay.
However a new initiative by Dr Charles Teo AM will see the use of drones expanded into yet another area – delivering supplies such as blood and organs to Australia’s remote areas.
Dr Charles is a leading neurosurgeon who has been dubbed a ‘miracle worker’. This new initiative will facilitate a wider distribution of organs, and importantly, distribution to recipients in remote areas.
Brett Bullock, founder and president of Save Lives Donate Organs (SLDO), has said “we support this fantastic initiative and any initiative which furthers the speed and reach of organ donation in Australia”.
“I commend Charles Teo for using his profile to advance this important project.”
Dr Teo has said that remote communities could expect the drone service to become operational within 12 months.
The longer a donor organ remains outside the recipient, the more it will deteriorate increasing risks during transplantation. Hopefully the use of drones will reduce this timeframe, particularly when organs have a far way to travel into remote Australia.
A 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare into dialysis and kidney transplantation in Australia found that at the end of 2009, 40% of patients in ‘non-remote’ areas had a functioning kidney transplant, as opposed to 9% in ‘remote’ and 26% in ‘very remote’ areas.
“One of the key challenges we face is still the low organ donation rates in Australia. While the drone initiative is great, we need more registered donors for it to work.”
An EY report into low donor numbers commissioned by the Australian Government recommended 24 changes to the organ donation system. Australia’s donation rate of 16.9 donors per million of the population, ranks 22nd in the world. There are simply not enough organs to meet demand. Donor numbers are hoped to increase once the recommendations made in the report are implemented.