Man without fingerprints stumps airport security


USA Today reports the curious case of a Singapore man who was detained for several hours by airport security when they couldn't find his fingerprints. The man, who was taking capecitabine as part of chemotherapy treatment, suffered from hand-foot syndrome, a side effect of the drug where skin peels off. His oncologist describes the unusual case today in an online letter to the Annals of Oncology.

The problem is not as rare as you might think. Around one in 50 people in the world lack identifiable fingerprints; an official from the Department of Homeland Security reported "We have standard operating procedures that take that into account".

Via Newser

More like this

Over in the mad world, CIP castigates his fellow countryfolk for promoting torture. AFAIK we're not doing that (except very quietly and discretely, one suspects) so instead we're going for detaining people for implausibly long times. We're currently at an insane 28 days and our glorious leader…
Reposted from the old TfK: A few years back, I was skinning a baboon that had died in a zoo, and been given to the museum. Skinning animals is interesting, but rarely stunning. It involves a little cutting, a lot of gentle tugging, and great care when you finally get to the hands and feet. Mouse…
tags: zebras, Equus quagga burchelli, photography, Image of the Day Burchell's (plains) zebras, Equus quagga burchelli, create a mirror image in their enclosure at the Zoological Park in Delhi, India. Image: BBCNews. Burchell's zebra has distinctive stripes that run diagonally and lengthways on…
In today's big section on evolution in the New York Times, John Noble Wilford explains the explosion of new material and new understanding of the human family tree. Through the 1990s and into this century, new fossil discoveries have pushed our understanding of hominid origins back in time, and…

Do you mean 1 in 50 lack them permanently, or just due to some temporary condition (as in this case)?

I imagine it's all causes, including temporary ones. It's said that bricklayers often have no fingerprints because working with abrasive materials tends to smooth the skin on their hands.

Do you know why the guy had no fingerprints? I know severe heat or burns can remove fingerprints temporarily, but I wasn't aware of any other ways to take them off.

@Lab Rat.
The guy was on Chemotherapy, and the particular variant he was being dosed with, has a side effect of making the skin on the extremeties peel off

By Valueaddedwater (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink