Breast Cancer Patient Calls TSA Patdown ‘Humiliating’

by | October 5, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Travel

A TSA worker checks a passenger at an airport.

A breast cancer patient was subjected to a “humiliating” and “insulting” patdown from the TSA at JFK Airport, NBC New York reports.

The woman, Lori Dorn, wrote on her personal blog after the experience in late September. She had a bilateral mastectomy in April, she writes, and had tissue expanders put in to prepare for a breast reconstruction at a later date. She carried a card with her explaining the metallic component of her tissue expanders could set off metal detectors.

Dorn writes:

“I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information and asked to retrieve it. This request was denied. Instead, she called over a female supervisor who told me the exam had to take place. 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 then said, ‘And if we don’t clear you, you don’t fly’ loud enough for other passengers to hear. And they did. And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a TSA Supervisor.

“To my further dismay, my belongings, including my computer, were completely out of sight. I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers.”

The TSA released a statement to NBC New York saying Dorn “did not have a positive experience” and that the “Federal Security Director for JFK personally reached out to the passenger to apologize and learn about her experience to help ensure a smoother checkpoint for passengers in similar circumstances going forward.”