Drones will likely start delivering organs for transplant in Northeast Ohio sooner rather than later

Drones will likely start delivering organs for transplant in Northeast Ohio sooner rather than later

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Healthy organs and tissues from one person, experts say, can save or help as many as 50 people. That includes organs like kidneys, livers, intestines, eyes and bones.

But getting those fresh organs where they need to be fast enough has always been an issue. That’s about to change.

Gordon Bowen is the CEO of the area Lifebanc.

He sees the need for a better process almost daily.

“Unfortunately, 22 people die in the United States because as organ is not available. About 1,800 people are waiting in Northeast Ohio right now for an organ transplant.”

When it comes to saving a life, Ohio is about to fly to the head of the line.

Lifebanc of Greater Cleveland is hoping to jet into the future by soon using drones.

Bowen said, “There’s no limitations on what we’ll be able to do. We can go from our building here at Lifebanc, to the Cleveland Clinic, to University Hospitals, but we can also go down 71 to Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton area as well.”

Bowen added, “Transportation is key because the sooner they can get an organ to another individual, the better it works.”

The old saying, “The sky’s the limit,” doesn’t apply anymore.

Drones, now used in war, will soon be used to transport and transplant organs faster and more efficiently than ever saving lives, time and money.

“Very sophisticated drones that will be able to monitor the organ as it’s going from point A to point B as well as being able to get it there securely, safely to the location where it needs to go. Don’t have to worry about traffic jams? No, should be able to bypass the traffic jams.”

“We’re working with ODOT, their UAS Center, which is for unmanned air systems to help build corridors.”

Alice Cummings from Vertecs is working with Ohio to design flight plans and to develop software to help pilot the drones.

“What kind of time savings are you thinking about? The average transport time right now is a 19-hour window or more. We’re hoping to get everything under 12, if not far below that into the four- and six-hour ranges if we can. Time is of the essence. Minutes matter.”

Vertecs and Lifebanc are hoping to do some test flights in the fall.

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