My wife Lori Dorn, who has breast cancer, tells her story about a TSA agent at JFK on Friday who required her to submit to a pat down due to her breast implants, even though she had an identification card for the implants that is used to prove that the implants are an actual medical device. The TSA agent would not let Lori show her the card.
Lori's first-person account begins:
At what point does the need for security eclipse human dignity and compassion?
Yesterday I went through the imaging scanner at JFK Terminal 4 for my Virgin America flight to San Francisco. Evidently they found something, because after the scan, I was asked to step aside to have my breast area examined. I explained to the agent that I was a breast cancer patient and had a bilateral mastectomy in April and had tissue expanders put in to make way for reconstruction at a later date.
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 (pictured) 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.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.