This is Nuts!

Check this out. What you will see is a website dedicated to the support of those air travelers who have peanut, tree nut, or other severe food allergies. In particular, check out some news stories about flying with food allergies. Note specifically those dealing with auto-injectors on airplanes. EpiPens. Remember the scandal a few years ago when the price of these epinephrine self-injectors skyrocketed? Here’s an even bigger scandal. Airlines, you know the ones that serve peanuts routinely for some unknown reason, are not required to carry EpiPens.

Two points to be made here. The first is an obvious one. Why no EpiPen requirement on airliners? Although some airlines have added this piece of basic equipment to their inflight medical kits, there is still no requirement that all carriers do so.

Which takes us to the second and more general point. What kinds of medical emergencies should airlines equip their planes, and train their crews, to deal with? Medical emergencies onboard are scary propositions, and the old “Is there a doctor on board?” plea is of limited value. My son’s sister in-law, a physician on a plane returning from a stint volunteering in South America, responded to such a plea. The only problem was that the problem was a cardiovascular one, she is a subspecialist in ophthalmology, and the plane’s medical kit was devoid of any equipment that might be of assistance. The event did not end well.

Bottom Line. Isn’t flying scary enough for many people? Shouldn’t airlines be required to invest a few hundred dollars in some basic equipment and crew training to save a life that might be taken by a single peanut? 

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