Airport security hassles man over medical device in posterior

Another item for the catalog. According to an article in the medical journal The Lancet, immigration officials at a New York airport forced a man to remove a thread-like medical device from his rectum, because they thought it might be a bomb or indicate a drug-smuggling ploy. The device is called a seton, and is used to treat a condition that sometimes results from digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease. Snip from the article attributed to the 48-year-old man's physician:

On arrival in New York in August, 2006, for a holiday, the patient
was interrogated by immigration officials, then examined and
searched. The presence of the seton gave rise to much concern, I
assume because of a suspicion that a drug package or terrorist weapon
was in some way attached to it. A rectal examination was done, during
which the examining official pulled very hard on the seton, causing
severe pain, but fortunately not damaging the anal sphincter muscles
encircled by it.

The patient was refused entry into the country unless the seton was
removed. Given the somewhat stark choice, he chose removal of the
seton, which was done by a doctor at the airport who claimed never to
have come across one before. The patient now requires an examination
under general anaesthetic to insert a replacement.

Link to Lancet article (site registration required), and copied text here.