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Medical device awareness card launches for type 1 travellers

By Editor
14th February 2019
Case studies

Healthcare professionals are being urged to share knowledge of  a new Medical Device Awareness Card for those with type 1 diabetes to use when travelling abroad.

The card, now available to download, has been launched in partnership with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Airport Operators Association (AOA).

But the whole idea was thought up by Rachel Humphrey, whose teenage boy George was prevented from boarding a flight in 2016 because airport security wanted to X-ray his insulin pump.

Since then, Rachel has campaigned hard to raise awareness of how dangerous it can be to expose life-saving technologies to x-ray screening and full-body airport scanners.

She said: “Despite the protocols in place, there have been many negative experiences at airport security, including our own harrowing experience when my family were held in an airport police room for over two hours and denied access to an aircraft due to my son’s insulin pump, resulting in this global campaign and now the issue of the Medical Device Awareness Card. The card provides information for both the Security Officer and the passenger as follows:

Regulations allow passengers with these medical devices to ask for an alternative security screening process.

The card is split into sections, one of which holds important information for the airport security team.

  • Passengers with a medical device such as an insulin pump or Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (CGMs) should not be screened by a security scanner; if they opt out of this they must be offered an alternative screening method.
  • Passengers must never be asked to remove a medical device from their body for screening.
  • Medical devices (including spare devices) should not go through x-ray machines. Alternative screening processes can be undertaken such as hand search, supported by ETD.

 The following advice is for the passenger:

  • Don’t forget to bring your medical evidence (e.g. letter from a medical practitioner) to confirm your medical device such as an insulin pump or Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (CGMs). Have this ready to show the Security Officer, along with this card.
  • Make the airport Security Officer aware of the device, and exactly what it is and where it is located.
  • If you are carrying a spare medical device, remove it from your cabin bag before the x-ray and let the Security Officer know.
  • And do contact the airport if you have any concerns or queries before you travel: note that screening equipment and processes may differ from airport to airport.
  • Please check with your return airport (if outside the UK) on their arrangements for screening medical devices.

                                                           

Rachel added: “We also recommend that passengers use the service that many UK airports offer of a discreet identifier (usually a ‘sunflower’ lanyard), for those who have a hidden or not so obvious medical condition or disability. Please see the Special Assistance counters at the airport.

 “If you have a poor experience at airport security, please report it so we can act by emailing me on rachel@ufofreight.com with the following information; the airport name, date, approximate time, flight number and a description of what happened.”

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