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Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne Introduces Bill to Improve Air Transportation of Human Organs

Rep. Van Duyne with Bradley L. Allen, CEO of Southwest Transplant Alliance

Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (TX-24) has introduced a new bill aimed at improving the air transportation of human organs. The "Saving Organs One Flight at a Time Act" proposes common-sense reforms to address the bureaucratic red tape that currently hinders the efficient transport of life-saving organs to patients in need.

During a visit to the Southwest Transplant Alliance in Dallas, Rep. Van Duyne was shocked to discover the obstacles that prevent viable organs from reaching recipients. Motivated by the urgent need to save more lives, she decided to take action by introducing this legislation.

The bill has garnered support from various stakeholders, including Bradley L. Adams, President & CEO of the Southwest Transplant Alliance, who praised the proposed reforms as a way to ensure that the selfless gift of organ donation is handled with the utmost care.

One of the primary issues the bill aims to address is the restriction on flying human organs above the wings in commercial aircraft, which was implemented after the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. Currently, organs are relegated to the cargo hold, leading to confusion, delays, and, in some cases, the destruction of these precious organs.

To rectify this situation, the Saving Organs One Flight at a Time Act calls for the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to collaborate in issuing regulations. These regulations would enable air carriers to safely and efficiently transport organs for transplant above the wing, reinstating the option that was lost after 9/11.

The proposed regulations would include several key provisions. Firstly, they would define "covered materials" to encompass organs and the containers associated with their transfer. Secondly, the regulations would consider protocols for air control outages that may affect the timeliness of flights transporting organs for transplant. Thirdly, air carriers would be required to implement protocols for human person accompaniment of organs, ensuring their safe transit to and from the aircraft, as well as between connecting flights. Fourthly, a standardized process would be established for the acceptance, handling, and management of organs in transit by commercial air carriers. Finally, flight notes indicating the presence of organs on board would be consistently used to allow air traffic control to prioritize the takeoff and landing of flights transporting organs for transplant.

Congresswoman Van Duyne's bill has already gained support from original cosponsors, including Reps. Mark Green (TN-07), Rich McCormick, M.D. (GA-06), and Mike Collins (GA-10). By authorizing collaboration between the TSA and FAA to issue these crucial regulations, the Saving Organs One Flight at a Time Act aims to streamline and enhance the transportation of life-saving organs, ultimately saving more lives and honoring the selflessness of organ donors and their families.

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