61-year-old Thomas Sawyer is a retired special education teacher, and a survivor of bladder cancer. He says he was "absolutely humiliated," broke down in tears and soaked in his own urine, after a degrading and invasive TSA "pat-down" at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on November 7 caused his urostomy bag to rupture. Snip from MSNBC
Due to his medical condition, Sawyer asked to be screened in private. "One officer looked at another, rolled his eyes and said that they really didn't have any place to take me," said Sawyer. "After I said again that I'd like privacy, they took me to an office."
Sawyer wears pants two sizes too large in order to accommodate the medical equipment he wears. He'd taken off his belt to go through the scanner and once in the office with security personnel, his pants fell down around his ankles. "I had to ask twice if it was OK to pull up my shorts," said Sawyer, "And every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn't need to know about that."
Before starting the enhanced pat-down procedure, a security officer did tell him what they were going to do and how they were going to it, but Sawyer said it wasn't until they asked him to remove his sweatshirt and saw his urostomy bag that they asked any questions about his medical condition.
"One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants."
Sawyer was forced to walk through the airport drenched in his own urine, then board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean himself up in the plane's toilet.
TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine (MSNBC, photo courtesy Thomas Sawyer)
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