Cancer Patient: TSA Humiliated Me

She hopes agency changes procedures for sick travelers

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 10, 2012 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – A cancer patient on what was probably the last trip of her life says she was subjected to a humiliating pat-down from the TSA this month, the AP reports. Michelle Dunaj, who has leukemia and was recently given only a few months to live, was on her way to Hawaii and had called ahead to make sure she was adhering to security protocol. But despite carrying documentation for her meds, she says TSA officers patted her down, lifted her shirt, pulled back her bandages, and punctured one of her bags of saline, all in front of a crowd of other travelers.

"My issue is: It was in front of everyone, and everyone was looking at me like I was a criminal or like I was doing something wrong," Denaj says. When she asked for a more private screening, she was told that "everything was fine." She says she is making her story public with the hope that TSA changes its practices for sick travelers. But a spokesman said the agency reviewed video of the incident and found that all procedures were followed appropriately. A TSA statement also disputes some of the specific accusations and adds that travelers can get a private screening upon request.

Michelle Dunaj hopes her embarrassing experience will change the way the Transportation Security Administration treats travelers with medical conditions.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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