CGM's and insulin pumps should no longer be screened by airport security scanners
Insulin pump users welcome new Medical Device Awareness Card
Preparing to board her flight for a trip to celebrate her 50th birthday the last thing Hayley Hakansson was expecting was to be hauled off to be searched by airport security at the departure gates.
However, due to her using an insulin pump to treat type 1 diabetes airport security staff would not let her pass through the security scanner without removing the device.
Hayley was taken to one side without all of her baggage and belongings, with her husband left unaware of what was happening.
Hayley said: “I refused to take off my insulin pump and turn it off – as it is a working piece of equipment, like a pancreas. I was taken to one side and searched. It is education that the airport staff needed.
“I had to leave all of my baggage and my purse on the conveyor belt – everything was there. My husband was left panicking, as he had not been told what was happening. On my return we collected our gear and went to the departures lounge. I do not drink, but I had a large glass of whitewine just to stop me shaking after the ordeal.”
The couple were at Manchester Airport preparing to fly to Barbados for a cruise ship holiday, two days before Hayley’s 50th birthday on 10th March 2017.
In addition to her insulin pump, Hayley had packed lots of additional medical supplies for her trip – including insulin pump sensors, blood testing equipment, needles and lancets.
Hayley added: “On arrival to our destination I found that my new box of lancets for the trip was not there. Luckily I have always carried a week supply in a little travel pack, just in case, that has been all around the world with me. I had to use the same lancets for several days. But this could have been a much worse situation if my insulin had gone missing.”
Since Hayley’s traumatic experience help is now available for people with diabetes using medical devices to manage the condition, with the launch of a new Medical Device Awareness Card – following an online petition by Rachel Humphrey to raise awareness to airport staff.
Hayley, who is a volunteer for Hartlepool Diabetes Group, said: “It’s absolutely amazing what Rachel Humphrey has done for people with her campaign.
“With this new card, when you check in they should give you a lanyard to wear and use a different security scanner, when you show your Medical Device Awareness Card.
“On boarding the plane you should also get called up first, with your partner, along with any other passengers with a health condition
“I have been through Manchester Airport since in a different terminal and there is a stamp on my passport now, when airport security see a passport with this stamp they can put you through a different entrance. It was absolutely a totally different experience a year later. They now have had the education.
“People with a health condition or a disability should not have to go through what I experienced. It is not my fault I have type 1 diabetes. Passengers should not be overly exposed in front of everybody that they have a health condition.”
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