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Manchester Airport Apologizes After Teen Told Her Diabetes Medication 'Could Crash the Plane'

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Manchester Airport in Manchester, England, has issued an apology for an incident in July involving Polly Holland, a 13-year-old girl, who was ordered to remove her insulin pump from her hand luggage and place it in a plastic bag while going through airport security. Holland refused, as she is required to have her pump on her at all times, and removing it would risk contamination. When she refused, a security worker told her the pump “could crash the plane,” and that it would be “her fault.”

According to Holland family, Polly, who was diagnosed with type I diabetes when she was 6, provided documentation from Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital, stating she is required to have her insulin pump with her at all times. Insulin pumps are vital for people who have type I diabetes, like Polly, as those with the condition are unable to make insulin themselves.

When interviewed by The Star, Joanne, Polly’s mom, said the incident made her concerned as a parent and made Polly upset.

“As a parent, children are always your priority, but with Polly, it is even more so because I am carrying medicine that will keep her alive,” Joanne said. “I just held her hand and said everything was going to be okay. She was close to tears.”

In a statement to Yahoo, Fiona Wright, director of customer services and security for Manchester Airport, apologized to the family.

We’d like to apologize to the Hollands for their experience when traveling through the airport recently. The correct procedure for medicines and medical equipment is that they require scanning unless there is a written exemption from a doctor or hospital. This is why the Hollands were asked to present their daughter’s diabetes medication for screening. Unfortunately, on this occasion some of the medication was not screened correctly so it was necessary to bring it back for additional screening. The safety and security of all our passengers is our [top] priority. However, we acknowledge the situation could have been handled better and this has now been raised with the staff member in question.

Following the airport’s apology, Joanne said there needs to be better training for airport staff. She told The Star her family will consider flying out of other airports in the future.

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Originally published: September 21, 2018
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