October 30, 2023
The Honorable Beth Van Duyne
United States House of Representatives
1725 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Van Duyne,
As stakeholders in the organ donation and transplantation community, we thank you for your leadership in introducing the Saving Organs One Flight at a Time Act (H.R. 4362). This legislation advances our shared goal of ensuring the safe and timely transport of organs through the nation’s commercial air systems for the benefit of patients in need of a lifesaving transplant.
Prior to the attacks on September 11, donor organs intended for transplant traveled above wing on commercial flights. Transplant professionals delivered organs, mostly kidneys, through security to and from aircraft. Airport protocols changed after the September 11 attack, which prevented transplant professionals from accompanying organs directly to flight gates. Organs were relegated as cargo and are still transported as such today.
Treating organs as cargo prevents organs from being transported when needed. Organs transported as cargo typically must arrive at an airport 60 to 120 minutes prior to a flight’s departure. If the organ arrives too close to the flight time, it cannot be transported on the intended flight. Additionally, cargo offices do not have uniform operating hours; instead, they vary by airport and airline. If an organ arrives t its destination when the cargo office is closed, couriers cannot retrieve the lifesaving organ. While these occurrences are uncommon, they are completely avoidable.
Your bill’s rulemaking directive to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will ensure protocols are modernized to reduce the damage and delay of donor organs.
Thank you again for your commitment to improving the nation’s organ donation and transplantation system.
American Association of Kidney Patients
American Foundation for Donation & Transplantation
American Kidney Fund
American Liver Foundation
Association of Organ Procurement Organizations
American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
American Society of Nephrology
American Society of Transplantation
American Society of Transplant Surgeons
Donate Life Virginia
Kidney Care Partners
Kidney Transplant Collaborative
North American Transplant Coordinators Organization (NATCO)
National Kidney Foundation
Nationwide Organ Recovery Transport Alliance
Organ Donation Advocacy Group
Renal Physicians Association
Transplant Recipients International Organization
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)