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Drones may prove to be a more expedient means of delivering many items, but a number of research projects have demonstrated that dropping defibrillators off to heart attack victims could have life-saving consequences. A new study from a Swedish team of researchers has now deployed this technology in real-world scenarios for the first time. On average, the unmanned aircraft arrived well ahead of ambulance crews, with the medical device safely in tow.

When a person suffers a cardiac arrest, brain death and fatality can occur within just minutes, and the chances of survival for those that experience them outside of hospital is therefore slim. Prompt treatment involving CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) can greatly increase the odds of survival, so every second counts in getting the equipment to the scene.

Back in 2014, we looked at a student-designed "Ambulance Drone" with an integrated webcam, that drops a defibrillator off at the scene and then allows experts to guide those on the ground through how to use it. The Defikopter is another example, while in 2017 scientists at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet carried out simulation exercises showing how these types of drones could transport defibrillators four times as quickly as an ambulance. The latest study also comes courtesy of researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, but involves real-life incidences of cardiac arrest.

Read More: Newatlas

The city of Orlando and its water utility made an urgent appeal Friday afternoon for residents to cut back sharply on water usage for weeks because of a pandemic-triggered shortage of liquid oxygen used to purify water.

If commercial and residential customers are unable to reduce water usage quickly and sufficiently, Orlando Utilities Commission may issue a system-wide alert for boiling water needed for drinking and cooking. Without reductions in water usage, a boil-water alert would come within a week, utility officials said.

Read more: Orlando Sentinel

LES CAYES, Haiti (AP) — As if Haiti’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, a tropical storm and the coronavirus pandemic weren’t enough, the temblor damaged the only medical oxygen plant in the southern part of the country.

The building that housed the oxygen concentrator machines that the region depended on partially collapsed, and the machines were upended. The Etheuss company is run by the a family famous for their vetiver perfume oils plant in the city of Les Cayes, one of the areas hardest hit by Saturday’s earthquake.

Read more: AP News

More than 80 percent of the active ingredients in medicines the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems essential for public health have no U.S. manufacturing source. Essential medicines include antibiotics, antivirals, blood pressure pills, steroids and many others. This vulnerability of the U.S. public health care system is not only matter of health care security, but of national security as well.

In the United States, no manufacturing source exists for more than 80 percent of the active ingredients in medicines the US Food and Drug Administration deems essential for public health, according to a new study from the Center for Analytics and Business Insights (CABI) at Olin Business School.

“This creates an incredible vulnerability to our public health care system, our health care security,” said Anthony Sardella, an adjunct professor at Olin and senior research advisor at CABI. He conducted the study using proprietary data from across the industry.

Read more: Homeland Security News Wire

The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hot spots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs.

Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oregon all have more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic, and nursing staffs are badly strained.

In Florida, virus cases have filled so many hospital beds that ambulance services and fire departments are straining to respond to emergencies. Some patients wait inside ambulances for up to an hour before hospitals in St. Petersburg, Florida, can admit them — a process that usually takes about 15 minutes, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said.

Read more: NPR