Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged the FAA to lift an exemption and ensure airlines stock life-saving EpiPens in emergency kits for the sake of travelers.
The New York Democrat noted that there has been an uptick in food allergies that are making people susceptible to attack and reactions that can result in death.
”We all know that millions of Americans — over 30 million — have food allergies, and if you go into anaphylactic shock, the solution is an EpiPen,” Schumer said on Sunday. “Now if you’re walking down the street, someone might have one. An ambulance or doctor is quite nearby. If you’re on the plane and there is no EpiPen, it could be fatal.”
The Senate majority leader said airline companies have sought a Federal Aviation Administration exemption from carrying the auto-injectors aboard planes since 2001.
They got a four-year exemption in 2016.
His call for epinephrine and EpiPens to be part of a plane’s emergency medical kit comes after Dr. Mikhail Varshavski earlier this month used a syringe to administer a life-saving dose of epinephrine to a passenger aboard an Israeli-bound Delta flight who had gone into anaphylactic shock.
Better known as “Doctor Mike” and voted “America’s sexiest doctor” by People magazine, Varshavski accompanied Schumer during the news conference.
He said the importance of EpiPens cannot be overlooked because they contain a pre-measured dose of epinephrine and flight attendants can be easily trained on how to administer them.
”Because the current solution is that we should ask passengers if anyone else has an EpiPen on board. To me, that’s not like asking for aspirin or ibuprofen. It’s essentially asking, let’s share life jackets and see whoever needs a life jacket, maybe we can share it. The EpiPen is designated for the person who has it,” Varshavski said.