U.S. Dept. of Transportation orders airlines to transport portable dialysis machines for free
Dialysis patient advocacy group Home Dialyzors United announced that it was informed by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), that the agency has issued an industry letter on Guidance Regarding Aviation Rules and Statute, detailing regulations for carrying portable dialysis machines belonging to travelers with disabilities free of charge. The letter/notice will be sent to all airlines under the agency’s jurisdiction. This notice is the result of talks between Home Dialyzors United and DOT.
“This is a huge victory for home dialyzors who travel by air with their portable dialysis machines,” says Rich Berkowitz, HDU founder and president. “With almost 40,000 people in the U.S. today using some form of portable dialysis machine, this guarantees that they will no longer face discrimination by air carriers refusing to carry their life-saving dialysis devices for no charge, or demanding payment of excessive freight charges to carry their machines in the plane’s cargo holds.” Air carriers in the United States are required by law to carry assistive devices for people with disabilities under the provisions of DOT 14 CFR Part 382, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel of the Air Carrier Access Act. Such items as portable wheel chairs, oxygen, personal ventilators/respirators, canes and other assistive devices are enumerated in the current regulations. However, there is no specific mention of portable dialysis machines, which have become more common in the last decade as more people with kidney failure elect to do home dialysis. “Unfortunately, without specific mention of portable dialysis machines in the DOT regulations,” said Berkowitz, “many of our members have had a great deal of difficulty boarding commercial aircraft with their machines. Over the last three years we have documented these instances of discrimination, and the DOT has acknowledged the need to enhance 14 CFR Part 382 to protect home dialyzors. We are extremely grateful to the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Protection for taking up our cause.” Berkowitz recommends that home dailyzors carry the guidance with them while traveling. The guidance can be downloaded here. Read entire article: Nephrology News & Issues