TSA Pats Down Cancer-Stricken 95-Year-Old Woman, Removes Adult Diaper
TSA security officers at Florida's Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport patted down a cancer-stricken, 95-year-old woman and forcibly removed her adult diaper during the search, CNN reports. Could this end up being yet another TSA PR nightmare?
Jean Weber was traveling with her ill mother on June 18 from Florida to Michigan to see relatives "in the final stages of her battle with leukemia" when the incident occurred.
Weber told CNN that while she thinks the officers may have been "procedurally correct...the procedure needs to be changed." Weber noted that her mother had had a blood transfusion the week before.
A Suspiciously "Wet and Firm" Diaper
While passing through security, TSA officials "felt something suspicious and they couldn't determine what it was," so they took Weber's mother to a private room.
A TSA agent told Weber that her mother's Depends underwear was "wet and firm and they couldn't check it thoroughly," so the mother-daughter duo left in search of a bathroom to remove the underwear. Weber did not have an extra pair of Depends with her.
Weber "burst into tears" but her mother was "very calm" even though she was forced to go through the airport without underwear. Her elderly mother was taken to the boarding gate without her as Weber was still going through security.
TSA Defends Search
In response to the incident, the TSA said on Sunday that "While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner. We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."
UPDATE 6/27: The TSA released a follow-up statement on Monday, MSNBC reports. The new statement is just a slight alteration from its original statement. The TSA's latest statement reads: "While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner," the statement read. "We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally, according to proper procedure and did not require this passenger to remove an adult diaper."
This isn't the first time the TSA has gotten into hot water over pat down procedures. In April, a video of a 6-year-old getting a pat down at the New Orleans airport went viral, while in May, a video of a baby getting a pat down caused quite a stir.
Last week, the TSA announced they would change the procedures for patting down children.
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