Oct 10, 2012
Just when you thought they couldn’t sink any lower, a story emerges from Seattle where TSA agents forced a young woman who is dying from leukemia to lift her shirt to expose feeding tubes, removed bandages from her recent surgeries, and broke open an IV bag of saline solution, all in full public view.
Michelle Dunaj from the Detroit area told KOMO News that the incident occurred as she was passing through Seattle Sea-Tac Airport on her way to Hawaii on one last vacation.
“When somebody wants to take a trip – what I call an ‘end of life’ trip because you want to see your family and friends it’s even more important than just a trip,” Dunaj said.
She described how she had called Alaska Airlines before her trip to ensure that they were aware of her plans and that she would be carrying medicines through security.
“I did everything they asked me to do, so I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she said. However, “nothing happened as it should.” according to Dunaj.
She described how the TSA demanded to search her and refused to allow her a private screening, even though it is mandatory for them to do so should a passenger request it.
Dunaj, who is 34 years old and has been told by doctors she has just three to four months to live, said that agents told her “the location is fine,” before ordering her to expose her surgery scars. When a scanner failed to get a reading on her saline bags, Dunaj says a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid vital to her continued survival. Agents also forced her to expose feeding tubes that she needs because her organs are failing.
“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 added that once TSA agents were done searching her, they told her to hurry up and move because she was holding up the security line.
The TSA’s website states that “TSA officers are trained to perform pat downs in a dignified manner and, at any point, passengers can request a private screening with a witness present.” A TSA statement issued late Tuesday, claimed that after reviewing video from the security checkpoint it was determined that “screening procedures were followed.”