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Friday, September 10, 2010

Protest at Philippine airline's refusal to carry kidney

Philippine medics had to throw away a donated kidney when a local
airline refused to fly it, transplant doctors said Thursday.

Cebu Pacific Air said it was protecting passengers from possible
infection or contamination when it refused to allow the team who
harvested the organ to carry the kidney in the cabin on the flight
last month.

Benjamin Balmores, president of the Philippine Society of Nephrology
(PSN), said the kidney could no longer be used after doctors instead
tried to drive it nearly 400 kilometres (250 miles) to its
destination.

"According to NKTI (the government-run National Kidney and Transplant
Institute), this is the first time that the team was not allowed to
hand-carry the human organ," Balmores told AFP.

Cebu Pacific said it offered to carry the kidney on priority cargo,
but the doctors declined because the organ was too fragile.

Candice Iyog, a spokeswoman for the airline said: "The way (the
kidney) was packed was not in accordance with prevailing
internationally accepted standards."

Balmores, whose group represents the country's kidney doctors, urged
airlines to commit to a set of guidelines on transporting harvested
human organs.

"It seems there is no standard policy nor a consistent implementation
of such policy as seen in the past experience of the National Kidney
and Transplant Institute retrieval team," he said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona confirmed the incident, and said the
government needed to educate airlines about the importance of organ
transplants.

Balmores called on the government to provide more funds for the
state's donor programme.

"(It) would not be too ambitious to have a dedicated helicopter to
transport organs for transplantation," Balmores said.

Health department data show 9,000 Filipinos die from renal failure every year.

Balmores said 11,000 people are on dialysis nationwide, 3,000 of whom
would be fit enough and could afford a kidney transplant.

The PSN said it performed 511 kidney transplants last year.

The Philippines has been encouraging more transplants from deceased
donors to discourage the underground practice of poor people selling
their kidneys.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

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