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New Medical Drone Aims to Improve Disaster Response
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"Health Integrated Rescue Operation" or HIRO unveiled in Bolton, MS
Mark Rigsby - MPB News

A doctor and a medical student in Mississippi hope their new invention will save lives during an emergency. They have designed a drone to deliver supplies to emergency personnel during a disaster, and assist in treating victims. MPB's Mark Rigsby attended the unveiling.

"Health Integrated Rescue Operation" or HIRO. It's centerpiece is a drone that delivers help to mass casualty event, like a natural disaster or terrorist attack, or an emergency in a remote location. William Carey medical student Paul Cooper.

"It's all about empowering, and reaching areas that aren't safe. Maybe you can't reach right then with a medical provider through traditional methods."

Cooper and Dr. Italo Subbarao, senior associate dean at William Carey's College of Osteopathic Medicine worked with the Hind Community College's unmanned vehicle program to develop the medical drone. The drone releases a telemedical kit at the emergency scene. A doctor, miles away, can in real time, diagnose a patient, and instruct treatment in the field. Lee Smithson is executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

"Mississippi is such a rural state. You could have a tornado hit an isolated area that has no health care facilities, no EMS close by. These drones can get into an area hit by a tornado. So for this to put us in an area that's been hit is absolutely phenomenal."

Cooper says they will continue to come up with ways to improve how much weight the drone can carry and the medical kit on board.