EMS pilot Gary Colecchi
FORT WORTH – Little Lucy James is one week old Wednesday. She arrived in this world nine weeks early, weighing just 3 lbs., 13 oz.
"She's not very big," says mom Alex James. "She doesn't know that. She thinks she's huge."
Holding and cuddling the little baby are magic moments for moms Alex and Katie James. But the moments leading up to Lucy's delivery were much more tense. Doctors in Decatur told the parents Lucy's lungs weren't fully developed, and she'd need to be flown immediately to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth.
"It was really scary, honestly," Alex said.
"These kids need medical attention, and they need it rather fast," said EMS pilot Gary Colecchi, who flies for Cook Children's Teddy Bear Transport.
That's why an incident this summer at Cook Children's has pilots like Colecchi concerned.
Back in July, a medical chopper had just dropped off a patient.
"They were then dispatched to another critical injured child," Colecchi said. "However, they were unable to take off for 20 minutes because someone was flying a drone around [the] hospital."
That means a North Texas child had to wait 20 minutes longer than necessary for crucial medical attention, all because of a drone.
"It could've been bad," said Debbie Boudreaux, director of transportation for Cook Children's Hospital.
Boudreaux worries this is a sign of things to come, as drones pick up in popularity.
The FAA estimates at least 700,000 drones will be sold by the end of the holiday season. The issue is that, currently, the FAA has no laws on where you can fly drones. They simply suggest not to fly within five miles of airports, including hospital helicopter pads.
Actual laws should be coming soon, according to an FAA spokesperson.
In the meantime, Cook Children's and other hospitals are pleading for people not to fly drones near their facilities for fear the next 20-minute delay means the child doesn't get a happy ending, like Lucy James.
If you plan to fly a drone, first click here to see a website for guidance on where to fly safely.
- Source: http://www.wfaa.com