TSA vows to learn from breast cancer survivor’s pat-down

by Keith Laing, The Hill Newspaper
10/3/11

The Transportation Security Administration said Monday that it while it strives “to treat every passenger with dignity and respect,” it did not in the case of a passenger with breast cancer who was patted down.

New York resident Lori Dorn has said her chest implants were patted down recently at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Dorn wrote a blog post about the incident in which she said that even after she told the TSA agents about her condition, her chest was examined.

“We regret that this passenger did not have a positive experience,” the agency said in a statement that was provided to The Hill Monday afternoon. “The Federal Security Director for JFK personally reached out to the passenger to apologize and learn about her experience to help ensure a smoother checkpoint experience for passengers in similar circumstances going forward.”

TSA did not, however, say that patting down Dorn was inappropriate. Instead, the agency said that Dorn’s medical condition “should have triggered a more compassionate response from our officers, such as an offer on our part of private screening.

“During the screening process, if advanced imaging technology detects an anomaly that cannot be cleared, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing,” the agency said.  “In this instance, we should have allowed the passenger to present her medical card after she indicated that she had one. As a result of this occurrence, we will be looking at refreshing some training to use this as a learning opportunity.”

The agency said it was working with breast cancer advocacy groups to improve its handle of future situations like Dorn’s.

In her blog post last week, Dorn said she understood the need for security at airports, but she said her treatment was insensitive.

“I have been through emotional and physical hell this past year due to breast cancer,” she said on her blog post. “The way I was treated by these TSA agents added a s—tload of insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/tsa/185203-tsa-vows-to-learn-from-breast-cancer-survivors-pat-down

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