The TSA Doesn't Care About Cancer Survivors
As the enhanced pat-downs continue to spread over the body of travelers, we’ll continue to get more and more of these unpleasant stories.
A long-time US Airways flight attendant was recently subjected to the increased search, but her security screening soon became a little more invasive than most. The flight attendant—Cathy Bossi—is also a breast cancer survivor who now wears a prosthetic breast. Well the TSA wasn’t too tactful when it came to ensuring this woman’s dignity, as after the security officer put her hand on the woman’s breast, the flight attendant was forced to remove the prosthesis from her bra. We realize terrorists could be hiding things inside prostheses, but a little common sense and compassion would go a long away in a situation like this. Plus, she's a flight attendant.
Another traveler had a similar situation when it came to her prosthetic breast, and this time—in the passenger’s words—the TSA worker moved the prosthesis up, down, left, and right in view of other passengers as part of the pat down procedure. This passenger—Marlene McCarthy—is now determined to toss her prosthesis right into the gray bin along with her electronics and liquids next time, as she feels the embarrassment will be on the TSA for once and not on her.
We don’t want to claim that one person’s embarrassment is greater than someone else’s, but one passenger flying out of Detroit-Metro airport had a particularly awful experience with the TSA screeners. Thomas Sawyer—yes, that’s his name—had successfully survived bladder cancer, but he wasn’t able to survive the TSA pat down.
After being taken to a private area for the pat down—following some hesitation by the agents—he attempted to explain his medical condition and his need to use a urostomy bag. However, the agents clearly weren’t listening and, despite the warnings, the agents broke the seal on the bag causing urine to get all over this passenger just before his flight. We really feel for this guy and can’t imagine how anyone could totally ignore someone attempting to discuss a medical condition.
The TSA really needs to learn something that we all learned in Kindergarten and by watching Sesame Street—people are different—and some of these people might need to be treated a with a gentler touch than others. The pat down—as frustrating as it might be for all involved—is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Until some new procedures and behavior directives are enforced, we know that these types of stories will continue.