Oops, our bad, says TSA. Over the weekend, the story broke about the latest flare-up over an invasive patdown by Transportation Safety Administration officers. This time, it involved a breast cancer survivor who was forced to undergo a patdown at JFK after a full-body scanner detected her implants.
On her website, business consultant Lori Dorn says that she was preparing to board a Virgin America flight from New York to San Francisco last week when she was sked to step aside and undergo an examination. Dorn explained that she had undergone a bilateral mastectomy in April and had tissue expanders put in to prepare for reconstruction surgery. She then offered to show the agents a card that had information about the devices and her doctor that was in her wallet but they refused to allow her to retrieve the medical documentation.
"I was again told that I could not retrieve the card and needed to submit to a physical exam in order to be cleared,'' she wrote on her blog "[A female TSA supervisor] then said, 'And if we don’t clear you, you don’t fly' loud enough for other passengers to hear ... And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a TSA Supervisor ... I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers.''
Yesterday, on its blog the TSA had this to say:
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. We sincerely regret and apologize for the experience Mrs. Dorn had at JFK.
While apologizing, the TSA blogger, Bob Burns, a social media specialist with the agency, went on to say that medical documentation, while helpful, will not necessarily exempt any passenger from a screening and that any passenger can request that the screening be done in private. He also noted that TSA if offering agents new training focused on screening prosthetics.
Photo of Lori Dorn's medical identification card explaining her prosthesis from her website loridorn.me