NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, it seems some Transportation Security Administration agents aren’t very aware when it comes to compassion.
Breast cancer survivor Lori Dorn says she was subjected to a humiliating public pat-down at John F. Kennedy airport even though she offered to produce documentation about her medical implants.
Dorn wrote in her blog that the patdown at JFK added “insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.”
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 TSA 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 and apologized. “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 and said the agency 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.
Should the TSA agent be fired? What can be done to prevent this from happening again?