Home Dialyzors United, (HDU), a major player in the kidney-patient advocacy movement and only patient organization dedicated to home dialysis, was informed today by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 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 concludes direct and successful talks between the DOT and HDU on this matter.
“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 U.S. are required by law to carry assistive devices for people with disabilities under the provisions of D.O.T. 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. Home dialysis enables them to work or go to school fulltime and travel for business or pleasure without the need to visit dialysis clinics for thrice-a-week life-saving treatments. Recent studies have shown that these home dialyzors are more active and independent, healthier, and live longer, more productive lives than others with kidney failure.
“Unfortunately, without specific mention of portable dialysis machines in the D.O.T. regulations,” continues 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 D.O.T. 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.”
Home Dialyzors United is a 501(c)(3) non-profit patient organization, founded in 2006, whose mission is to support and advocate for home dialysis. Our main focus is to support, educate and advocate for home hemodialysis modalities. We are dialyzors, patients, care partners, renal professionals and friends of those with chronic kidney failure. We believe the patient comes first and care must be centered on him or her. We believe those on dialysis deserve to live a “normal” life. If one is of working age, they should be employed. If one isn’t or can’t work, they should be able to be full participants in family and community. We believe one can live well on dialysis.