Man Without Prints Stumps Airport Security

1 in 50 lack matchable fingerprints worldwide
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2009 4:42 PM CDT
Customs officials held up the cancer patient for four hours as they tried to discern whether he was a security risk.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The side effects of a drug to treat cancer led to a Singapore man being detained for hours by airport security officials who couldn’t find his fingerprints, USA Today reports. The drug capecitabine causes hand-foot syndrome, in which the skin peels off; the man was finally allowed through after being advised to carry a doctor’s note. His oncologist describes the unusual case today in an online letter to the Annals of Oncology.

Two years ago, Spanish doctors reported a similar incident involving a flight attendant taking the drug for breast cancer. In fact, for a variety of reasons, about 1 in 50 people worldwide lack matchable fingerprints, notes USA Today. "We have standard operating procedures that take that into account," says a Homeland Security official, adding that border agents consider other physical and behavioral traits.
(Read more Singapore stories.)