Doctors question pat downs, body scans
Thomas Sawyer, a cancer survivor, has worn a urostomy bag for the past three years. Yet, he says, little could have prepared him for his recent airport pat down, when an officer broke the bag’s seal and urine spilled out “onto my shirt and down my pants.”
“I’m a good American. I know why we’re doing this, and I understand it,” Sawyer told CNN. “But this was extremely embarrassing, and it didn’t have to happen. With educated TSA workers, it wouldn’t have happened.”
With the height of Thanksgiving holiday travel the next two days, the Transportation Security Administration is trying to strike a delicate balance between ensuring the safety of the traveling public and not invading people’s privacy rights.
But the screening raises an array of questions from health-care professionals:
• Are TSA officers trained to deal with patients like Sawyer who may have medical conditions?
• What about the elderly and others with hip replacements and similar ailments?
• Will cancer patients have to take off wigs?
• How is the TSA dealing with pat downs of children?
• What about people with mental illness?
The TSA says it has taken all of these concerns into account — that children are not to be separated from their parents if pat downs are deemed necessary and that travelers with medical conditions should be treated with “the dignity, respect and courtesy they deserve.” (CNN)