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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Terminal cancer patient barred to fly from US to Korea

A weak-looking 62-year-old woman who is suffering from stage 4 breast cancer was denied transportation to her home country via Korean Air on 8 May for Mother's Day.
Korean-American Crystal Kim accompanied by her daughter, Mimi, failed to take their seats in a flight from Seattle because airline authorities thought she was unfit to last the 11-hour travel even though she showed proofs from two doctors who cleared her that the illness will not be a deterrent, The Korea Herald said.
"It's absolutely ludicrous, heartless and unbelievable. Her vitals are normal. ... She is fit for travel," Mimi told Seattle news station KING-TV after they were refused to get on board for the second and last attempt.
The Asian flight company said they were informed that Kim recently suffered from serious abdominal pain and had been visiting a hospital.
The medical certificates showed that the tumor has metastasized to distant sites such as the abdomen, bones, brain and lungs.
A representative from the airline said, "(Korean Air) can have the patient on board. But after having a series of consultations with our medical staff, we decided not to have her to take the plane if she has no medical support on board."
The airline representative added that following international regulations, they reserve the rights to refuse passengers needing health clearance unless they meet the requirements.
However, it was also reported that the doctors who were consulted by Korean Air only examined the medical certificates brought by the passenger but did not make physical examination.
In a later development by the ABC, the pair was given seats by Delta Airlines on a 13:50 Seattle-Seoul flight on 12 May.
Spokesperson Susan Elliott said, "Breast cancer is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts at Delta. We were just happy to be able to help."
She added, "Different carriers make their judgment calls for different reasons. Delta's policies say that if a passenger has a doctor's note saying that they are able to fly, we generally allow them to fly. This is something our employees felt was the right thing to do."
Details of this report here.

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