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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 17:26 GMT
MP's action over long-haul deaths
John Smith MP on plane graphic
John Smith is to draft a 10 minute bill
A Welsh MP is hoping to introduce a law at Westminster to highlight the risks of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to long-haul air travellers.

Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith believes passengers should be given more information about the dangers posed by cramped conditions on plane journeys.

He had a perfectly clean bill of health. The only thing that happened to him was that he went on a long-haul flight

John Smith MP

His call came hours before it emerged that British Airways is to provide passengers with leaflets advising on health including dealing with the risk of fatal blood clots.

But the airline insisted the move had nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the deaths of a number of passengers.

Taking it a step further, Mr Smith is also urging passengers and families of people who have suffered DVTs - formation of a blood clot which can completely block the flow of blood - to take action through the courts.

Mr Smith said he was taking steps through parliament over so-called "economy class syndrome" following the death of one of his constituents.

Policeman John Thomas, 30, from Cowbridge, outside Cardiff, died last summer after returning from his honeymoon in Florida.

Three other Welsh travellers are also known to have died from deep vein thrombosis.

"Mr Thomas had a perfectly clean bill of health," said Mr Smith.

Thomas Lamb
Thomas Lamb died after a flight to Australia

"The only thing that happened to him was that he went on a long-haul flight."

The MP is planning to draft a 10 minute Bill in the Commons which would make it a legal requirement for airlines to make passengers aware of the possible risks of developing deep vein thrombosis.

This would be an interim measure until authoritative medical research is made public.

"We know that significant medical developments could take years even decades," said Mr Smith.

Cramped conditions

But he said he believed legal challenges in the courts would also help.

It has also emerged that two passengers are to sue British Airways and Airtours over claims they suffered blood clots from sitting on long-haul flights in cramped conditions.

And it has emerged over the weekend that a woman from Cardiff is considering legal action after her 68-year-old father, Thomas Lamb, developed a blood clot and died following a long-haul flight to Australia.

Last week Susan Mavir-Ross, 42, from Llay in Wrexham, died after suffering a pulmonary thrombosis embolism at the end of the nine-hour flight.

And last October, Emma Christoffersen, a 28-year-old from Newport, south Wales died following a flight from Australia to London.

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