SEATTLE (CBS Seattle/AP) — A woman dying from leukemia accuses TSA screeners of making her pull back her bandages from surgery during a pat-down.
Michelle Dunaj, 34, tells KOMO-TV that the security agents at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport refused her request to give her a private screening, saying that the bandages being pulled back were holding feeding tubes in place.
“They just said that the location we were at was fine.”
She added that one of the agents forced open one of her saline bags, contaminating the fluid she needs to stay alive.
“It shouldn’t happen that way,” Dunaj told the station. “They should be more respectful.”
Dunaj explained to KOMO that she called ahead to Alaska Airlines to make sure everything would go smoothly through screening regarding her prescriptions as she was making an “end-of-life” trip to Hawaii.
“I did everything they asked me to do, so I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she told the station.
A TSA spokeswoman said late Tuesday, however, that the agency had reviewed video from the security checkpoint where Dunaj was screened for weapons and determined that the agency’s procedures were followed.
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.
This is not the first time the TSA is being accused of negligence regarding people with health concerns.
In June 2011, 95-year-old Lena Reppert, who was also dying of leukemia, reportedly had to have her diaper removed in order for her to go through the screening process.
In 2010, a 3-year-old boy in a wheelchair with a broken leg was also given a pat-down.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)