Breast cancer survivor decries patdown at JFK
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — A breast cancer survivor says she was subjected to a humiliating public patdown at a New York airport even though she offered to produce documentation about her medical implants.
Business consultant Lori Dorn said in a blog the patdown at John F. Kennedy International Airport added “insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.”
The TSA later apologized for the incident.
Dorn was heading to San Francisco last week when a full-body scanner detected her prostheses. Dorn said she explained she had recently undergone bilateral mastectomy and had tissue expanders implanted for future breast reconstruction. A Transportation Security Administration agent refused to let her retrieve documentation from her wallet “that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information,” she said.
“I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers,” Dorn said.
In a tweet on her Twitter account Monday, Dorn said she received an apology from a JFK official “who agreed that proper policy wasn’t followed.”
In its own blog, the TSA said it regretted the incident.
“We do our best to treat passengers with the dignity and respect they deserve, but in Lori Dorn’s case, it looks like we missed our mark,” it said.
The TSA said the security director at JFK has reached out to Dorn to learn more about what happened.
The agency said medical cards “are a great way for passengers to discreetly let us know about a medical situation or disability,” and in Dorn’s case TSA agents should have “been more empathetic to her situation.”
It added that private screenings can be requested by anyone for any reason.
The agency said it recently rolled out a four-part in-service training course focused on screening prosthetics. Training is expected to be completed across the country in over a year.
Dorn said that while she understood the need for safety, airport security agents needed to show compassion and sensitivity.
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