Urologists have called for UK transport companies to put stringent staff guidelines in place to tackle the condition, which can cause sudden, severe and debilitating pain.
And they’re urging family doctors to ensure that kidney stone sufferers who are planning to travel overseas are aware of the risks and that they inform their insurance company to avoid costly unpaid medical bills.
Patients should also inform their employers if a sudden kidney stone attack could put them, or others, at risk.
“Kidney stones affect about one in ten people and the pain can be notoriously severe, with up to 40 per cent of attacks needing hospital admission” says urologist Nigel Borley, a specialist registrar from St George’s Hospital, London.
“The pain is so disabling, that even with intravenous morphine, pain relief only averages 36 per cent.”
“If transport workers, such as pilots and train drivers, are suddenly incapacitated by kidney stone pain it can pose a real safety risk to them and their passengers” adds co-author Commodore David Rainsford, a consultant physician to the UK Civil Aviation Authority and consultant in renal disease to the Royal Air Force.
The authors contacted major UK supervising and professional bodies and asked them if they issued any formal or informal guidelines for transport staff who could be affected by kidney stone attacks.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority was the only civilian body they talked to that had formalised guidelines for managing kidney stones. Although the guidelines only covered pilots, most of the major airlines surveyed also adopted the guidelines for cabin crew.
Very strict guidelines are also in place for the Royal Air Force, with pilots being immediately grounded and referred for investigation if they suffer from renal colic or are found to have kidney stones.
Royal Navy and British Army personnel are also screened before entry and a positive kidney stone result would mean a medical downgrade and restricted duties.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board, which is responsible for the safety of Britain’s railways, has no specific guidelines for train drivers with kidney stones, but there are general guidelines covering conditions that could cause sudden incapacity.
The UK’s Drivers Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which is responsible for the safety of private and public service drivers, has a “surprisingly large” list of conditions that could be hazardous to road safety, say the authors. But kidney stones are not specifically listed.
However DVLA does provide general guidance that it should be notified of any medical conditions “likely to affect ability to safely control a vehicle.”
Travel insurance companies the authors spoke to provided more categorical responses. They said that if they knew that a person had a kidney stone they would not be covered for treatment abroad.
And if the person didn’t declare their condition, and then claimed for treatment abroad, their insurance would be invalid.
“It is clear that there are few guidelines for workers in charge of other people’s safety and for patients with stone disease waiting to travel” says Nigel Borley.
The authors have devised their own guidelines for family doctors and urology colleagues, which are published in the journal. But they stress that it’s essential for governing bodies to develop formal guidelines for the protection of their own staff and the travelling public.
Annette Whibley | alfa
Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
06.12.2016 | Life Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering