Traveling With Medical Devices and Equipment

September 1st, 2011 By: Betty Long

It can sometimes be an obstacle course for so called “able-bodied” people to get themselves packed and out of the house, let alone through airport security.

Traveling with electronic medical devices, implanted medical equipment, even artificial hips and knees can be even more of a challenge if you do not plan ahead.

As a general rule, speak with your healthcare provider well in advance of your trip for specific treatment or advice. If you are traveling with medical devices or equipment use see through bags to make screenings go faster. Here are some other tips for getting around the inevitable questions and delays:

Cardiac patients with pacemakers or ICDs should carry a copy of your medical history, a list of all the medications you are taking, a copy of your most recent EKG if it was abnormal, and an ID card that gives your device type, the device's manufacturer, and your healthcare provider’s contact information.

The metal in some devices as well as artificial joints and prostheses may set off the security alarm. Alert Security that you have a device. Often you will be rerouted to another security officer for an individual search. Since a hand held wand contains a magnet and theoretically could interfere with your device, ask for a hand search just to be safe. But remember you have the right the right to have your medical condition remain confidential between you and TSA personnel during the screening process.

Place syringes, sharp medical equipment and prescription medication in your carry-on bag and notify the screener before he or she goes through your bag to prevent an injury to him/her.

If your shoes are attached to braces or a prosthesis, you cannot be forced to remove them. There are other security measures that can be employed.

TSA rules allow you to sit when required for a medical condition while going through a screening process. You have the right to make that request.

If you require help to get to the gate or if you are assisting another family member, you can get authorized companion gate pass from the ticket counter that will allow an additional person through security with the ticketed passenger.

Traveling can be stressful for anyone—healthy and those with chronic issues.Take some time to plan ahead to minimize your stress and improve your vacation!

To everyone traveling with devices, equipment or prostheses, may you continue to travel safely!

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