Woman with late-stage terminal cancer humiliated by TSA bandage-lifting

What has the TSA done to protect America from rogue cancer terrorists this week? This: A woman with leukemia who was making an end-of-life journey to Hawaii was humiliated en route by a revealing TSA pat-down.

[Michelle] Dunaj says nothing went right at the security checkpoint. A machine couldn't get a reading on her saline bags, so a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive. She says agents also made her lift up her shirt and pull back the bandages holding feeding tubes in place. Dunaj needs those tubes because of organ failure.

With other passengers staring, Dunaj says she asked for privacy and was turned down. "They just said that it was fine; the location we were at was fine," she said.

Video at KOMO NEWS. More at AP.

They messed with my fellow cancer traveler Lori before, too.

(thanks, David Calkins, vido still via KOMO NEWS)

More in our TSA archives.



  1. The Congressional delegation from Hawaii, dependent on air travel as they are, should take the lead on TSA reform.

      1. Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.  The Bush Administration had a habit of “accidentally” putting prominent Democrats on the no-fly list.

  2. “A machine couldn’t get a reading on her saline bags, so a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive.”

    If the TSA can’t understand this, there is nothing we can do.

  3. What every individual who experiences any problem with TSA needs to do is scream. If the grocery store cashier started doing this to you, what would you do?

    My 220-lb 6-ft Purple Heart owning self would scream like a little kid on a playground going through a serious case of stranger danger. Making that flight is not as important.

    These people need to be shamed. Immediately. As it happens.

    …and any able-bodied person over the age of 18 who witnesses something like this should respond as if they are witnessing a grocery store cashier dehumanizing a customer or the stereotypical black-hat (with twirled mustache) child molester snatching a kid off a playground.

    Sure there is a risk of arrest, but if the naked guy was let off, you probably will too when the news gets involved. when dozens of white, middle-class, business travelers start getting arrested the press (and then Congress) will get involved.

    Anyone who saw this happen and did nothing needs to read about Kitty Genovese.

    1.  The problem continues to be that despite our anger here, we’re still in the minority.  A far too large percentage of people believe the theater is making them safer. 

      The solution is figuring out ways to make more people aware (and believe) just how ridiculous all of this is.  Good luck trying to convince Fox news and the zombies that watch it to go along though.

      1. Fox News and the Republican Party will be all over this as soon as they think they can use it as a successful wedge issue.  The trouble is that they’ve spent most of this century establishing that any criticism of the security apparatus means you’re helping the terrorists.

        Why they don’t just do what they always do and pretend they never said that is anybody’s guess.  Something to do with the Democrats actually doing better in the polls on national defense, I think.

        1. Get a grip, this is TSA not POLITICS, if you think you are safer with your chosen Political Party so be it. This is about a very sick woman unfortunately whether you are democrat or republican tehy need more training, just like you to have a better understanding any given situation!!

          1. Do you mean the screeners need more training?  I think the problem is less the training and more it’s a useless facade of security that should be eliminated.

          2. this is TSA not POLITICS

            You think the TSA is not about politics?

            Aha.  Ahahahaha.  Perhaps it is you who needs to get a grip, my friend.

            if you think you are safer with your chosen Political Party so be it.

            Oh?  What do you believe is my “chosen political party”?  And what gives you the idea that I think either one of them has done a damn thing to improve airport security?

            You’re making an awful lot of assumptions that really don’t follow from the text of my post at all.

          3. @google-81d376284411667f9415b04a019083f3:disqus: You would guess correctly, but on the subject of airport “security” I can state with some conviction that I have seen absolutely no reason to believe there is any difference between the two major parties.

            And if you think Republicans hate Janet Napolitano, well, let me put it this way: I voted for her in 2006 and she repaid me by bailing as soon as she got a better offer and sticking us with Jan Brewer and SB1070.  Conservatives don’t hate that woman HALF as much as Arizona liberals.

          4. I don’t think training is going to help given that they apparently hire people who couldn’t get jobs as mall cops.

    2. when dozens of white, middle-class

      Isn’t that the bulk demographic of most flyers already?

      What’s your beef with “Grocery store cashiers” anyway?

      1. “Just when you think it can’t get worse, it’s working precisely as designed.” Is that one of Murphy’s law? It should be (or some tweaked verbiage).  We could name it after Ms. Dunaj but then she might not want to leave that as a legacy.

        1. I like where you are going:

          Just when you think TSA screening procedures can’t get any worst, you come to realize they are working precisely as designed. ~ The First TSA Rule of “We don’t go to the Airport to fly, why should you.”

          @gyrofrog:disqus @boingboing-f35fd567065af297ae65b621e0a21ae9:disqus

    1.  Yes because one final act of humiliation and degradation prior to death is not enough.
      USA making sure, that for us nobodies, even your last moments of life will be filled with authoritarian abuses, A Department of Homeland Security that believes in making you as insecure as possible in your Homeland, the rich excluded of course.

  4. “An internal investigation revealed that the agents in question were following established procedure.”

  5. With election season coming up, I wonder, what vote(s) can I cast to end the TSA?
    Don Young of Alaska who sponsored the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in the House is still in office but I’m not in that state. Happilly the racist family hating, Ernest Hollings, who sponsored the bill in the Senate is gone already.
    So, as a US citizen with the power of the vote, tell me how I can exercise that power to end the TSA.

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