This 9-year-old boy was held by TSA agents because of his pacemaker

9-Year-Old Boy Held by TSA Agents Because of His Pacemaker

A 9-year-old boy and his family say they were held by TSA agents in Phoenix for more than an hour in what they're calling a traumatic and discriminatory ordeal.

And it was all because of the young boy's pacemaker.

"It was really terrible. I thought it was my fault," Chille Bergstrom told KMSP.

It all started when Chille Bergstrom and his mother, Ali, were heading through security at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix Saturday morning.

See, Chille was born with a rare heart condition that has forced him to undergo 15 open-heart surgeries, and he needs a pacemaker to keep him alive.

Because of Chille's pacemaker, he can't go through the scanning equipment at security checkpoints. He normally presents his medical paperwork and gets an alternative screening, like a pat-down.

Which is exactly what the TSA's website says individuals with pacemakers and other internal medical devices must do.

SEE MORE: Video Shows Memphis Airport Security Tackling A Cancer Patient

But Ali says when they asked for an alternative screening for Chille, TSA agents said they needed a special exemption.

From there, Ali says armed police officers and TSA agents subjected them to a lengthy and demeaning search.

In a Facebook post about the incident, Ali said one of the agents told them "some terrorist plots use children with pacemakers."

The Bergstroms were finally able to fly back home to Minnesota 14 hours later, thanks to the delay and bad weather conditions.

Chille says he hopes sharing their bad experience with the TSA will prevent it from happening to someone like him in the future. A TSA spokesperson said they are reviewing Saturday's incident.

RELATED: The weirdest weapons confiscated by the TSA:
The weirdest weapons TSA has confiscated
See Gallery
The weirdest weapons TSA has confiscated
TSA #TBT January 2007 --- This Los Angeles (LAX) traveler didn’t think his wardrobe through before coming to the airport. In addition to actual firearms, replica firearms (such as this belt buckle) are prohibited, as they can cause alarm in the airport/airplane environment.
This inert grenade novelty item was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Seattle (SEA). While it is kind of funny, it’s prohibited altogether from both carry-on and checked baggage. So what’s the big deal if it’s inert? First off, we don’t know it’s inert until explosives professionals take a closer look, and that takes time and slows down the line. It can even lead to a complete shutdown and evacuation. Also, imagine the person sitting next to you on the plane pulling this out of their carry-on. No big deal, right? For these reasons, anything resembling a bomb or grenade is prohibited from both carry-on and checked bags. #TSAGoodCatch
A Dallas Love Field (DAL) traveler had these throwing knives in their carry-on bag. All knives are prohibited from carry-on bags, but may be packed in checked baggage. #TSATravelTips
#TSAGoodCatch - Replica firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags. Knives are prohibited in carry-on bags. Knife guns? #Nope This was discovered in carry-on bag at Providence (PVD).
#TSAGoodCatch - This ornate jawbone tomahawk was discovered in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC). Jawbone tomahawks (and all other tomahawks) must be packed in checked baggage.
#TSATravelTips - In addition to being a cute cat keychain, this is a punching weapon. Just as with brass knuckles, they’re prohibited from being packed or carried through the checkpoint. This one was discovered this week at the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). You can pack them in your checked baggage.
#TSAGoodCatch - This folding throwing star was discovered in a carry-on bag at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). These are prohibited from carry-on bags and should be packed in checked baggage. #Krull
#TSAGoodCatch - This comb dagger was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Lihue Airport (LIH) in Hawaii. Knives are always prohibited in carry-on bags no matter the size. Concealed knives can lead to fines and arrest.
#TSAGoodCatch - This folding knuckle knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Both knives and brass knuckles are prohibited from being transported in carry-on bags
#TSAGoodCatch - This #bejeweled lipstick stun gun was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). All stun guns are prohibited from being packed in carry-on bags or carried on your person.
#TSAGoodCatch - This inert anti-tank landmine was discovered in a checked bag at Austin (AUS). If an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because our explosives detection professionals must respond to resolve the alarm. Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on board the aircraft.
#TBT - May 2014 - This mallet was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on property at the Burlington International Airport (BTV). Items such as sledgehammers and mallets are considered bludgeons and are prohibited from being packed in carry-on bags. Checked baggage is fine.
#TSAGoodCatch - This ice pick concealed inside of a cane was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on property at Newark (EWR). Concealed weapons can lead to fines and arrest.
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