A woman with leukemia, just home from an “end of life” trip, told the press that TSA at Sea-Tac airport made her lift her shirt and allow inspection of surgical bandages - among other humiliations.
She said she asked for privacy and didn’t get it.
Responding for TSA, Ann Davis said its policy forbids agents from denying such requests, adding that inspectors “are trained to perform pat downs in a dignified manner.” But the growing list of complaints seems to contradict Davis’ claims.
To name just a few, one woman was forced to drink her own breast milk, another had to prove her breast pump was what it was, a 95-year-old had to change her adult diaper and a teen’s insulin pump was broken. In another reported case, a little boy in a wheelchair was upset and frightened by officers isolating him from his parents. And several women say they've been sexually molested.
Tell TSA its “sensitivity training” needs serious work.
We, the undersigned, are concerned that some TSA officers are crossing the line from security to violation of human rights.
The woman with leukemia, Michelle Dunaj, showed her respect for security by calling ahead to make arrangements, explaining about her medications and even requesting the airport’s own wheelchair, so that much would at least be pre-cleared. She said she was given instructions and followed them.
But reports say that when she got to her checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma airport and presented documentation for her supplies and medications, a TSA inspector “punctured and contaminated” one her bags of saline solution. It was after this, she reported, that she was expected to lift her shirt in front of other passengers and allow a female agent to check under bandages from recent surgery.
Then, she says, she was told to hurry along as if she’d been the one holding up the line.
Despite TSA’s claims of sensitivity training, there are too many incidents like this one being reported for us to feel secure that this training is adequate. Or perhaps more is involved - like overworking agents and/or improper compensation or down time from this stressful occupation.
Whatever the cause, we believe these incidents should not be recurring, certainly not as frequently as they've been reported. Flying and security should not make any trip a miserable or humiliating experience, especially if it’s your last one and you‘re already suffering from illness.
We request that TSA do whatever is necessary to correct this chronic and cruel problem.
Thank you for your time.