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Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2012

Michelle Dunaj, cancer patient embarrassed by TSA patdown, despite telling airline of condition ahead of time

A Michigan woman dying of leukemia says she hopes her embarrassment during a Seattle airport security pat-down might change the way the Transportation Security Administration treats travelers with medical conditions.

Michelle Dunaj had prepared for her journey to Hawaii, by calling the airline ahead of time, asking for a wheelchair, carrying documentation for her feeding tubes and making sure she had prescriptions for all her medications, including five bags of saline solution.

Unfortunately, Dunaj said she received a full pat-down in the security line at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and had to lift her shirt and pull back bandages so agents could get a good look. She said everyone else in line got a look, too.

“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,” Dunaj told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “It shouldn’t have been in front of everyone.”

Dunaj said a female agent performed the pat-down and asked her to lift up her shirt after feeling the tubes going into Dunaj’s chest and abdomen. Dunaj said her suggestion for a more private pat-down was dismissed.

“I asked them if they thought that was an appropriate location, and they told me that everything was fine,” she said.

She said another agent punctured one of the saline bags she was carrying, ruining it.

“I didn’t want to start getting upset and swearing and causing more of a scene or issue,” Dunaj said. “But it definitely wasn’t handled properly.”

TSA said in a statement, “At no point did a TSA officer open the passenger’s medically necessary liquids and the passenger was never asked to remove or pull off any bandages.”

The agency also said “at any point, any passenger can request private screening with a witness present.”

Asked to comment on Dunaj’s statement that she had asked for a more private pat-down, TSA Northwest Region spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said, “I cannot address that” and added that the “statement stands on its own.”

“We have determined that our screening procedures were followed,” she said late Tuesday.

TSA made headlines this summer when they spilled the human remains of a family member during the check and laughed at the situation – read that story here.

Photo from KOMO News video – check it out here

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Top Weird Stories of 2012 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] press circulates when a TSA agaent embarrasses a cancer patient or spills the remains of a loved one at the […]

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