MAS and Health Ministry should respond to the  adverse New Zealand report on MAS and the  economy class sydrome

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): MAS and the Health Ministry should respond to the adverse report in the New Zealand Herald today on MAS and the economy class syndrome or "deep vein thrombosis", the latest scare among air travellers.

Under the heading, "Flight clot victim allowed no room", the New Zealand Herald reported today:

MAS, which is already deeply in debts, can do without such an adverse international publicity about its airflight service, particularly indifference on a subject uppermost in the minds of  safety-conscious airtravellers after extensive publicity that air passengers may be at a greater risk of suffering a fatal blood clot during or after a flight than previously thought.

A recent study of 100 passengers has revealed that 10% developed clotting as a result of flying. The study used ultrasound scanners to detect the presence of clots in the blood stream. Volunteers, aged 50 and over, were tested before and after their flights.

The report's author, vascular expert and consultant surgeon Dr John Scurr, said he was startled and concerned by his findings.

Scurr said the study was specifically designed to trace blood clots caused by flying. "We studied the patients before they went. It was really only because of the flying that there was a difference" he said. He said it was unlikely that any other activity would have  caused the blood clots.

As an immediate measure,  MAS should introduce in all long-haul flights an in-flight safety video for all passengers warning them of the potential risks of "deep vein thrombosis" (DVT)  and instructing them of the precautionary steps to take, like exercising  regularly aboard the plane and providing the necessary air-cabin space.

Even though deep vein thrombosis is often referred to as "Economy Class Syndrome", passengers in first and business class are equally at risk.  The risk also applies to other forms of travel, such as coach or bus travel where travellers  stay seated for hours at the time.

For this reason, there should be a proper response to the DVT hazard not only by MAS but also by the Health Ministry, to protect the health and safety of Malaysians.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman