If you have ever known someone who is dying of a terminal illness, you will know that every last experience is so precious to them. The chance to visit family and friends for the very last time is so important to all involved and they all want is that experience to be a memorable one for all of the good reasons.
However, thanks to TSA agents at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, one woman’s ‘end of life’ trip was filled with embarrassment, humiliation and anger, none of which are what she wanted to remember the trip by.
Michelle Dunaj is dying of leukemia. She is taking a regimen of drugs and anti-rejection medications. Doctors recently inserted tubes directly into her body to better deliver the anti-rejection drugs through. Living in the Detroit area, she carefully planned an ‘end of life’ trip to Hawaii. Her flight, aboard Alaska Air had a stopover in Seattle. She called Alaska Air to find out how to deal with her many prescription drugs and IV bags. She meticulously followed all of their instructions to the letter, along with requesting a wheelchair be made available to her.
When she arrived at the airport, the TSA turned her ‘end of life’ trip into a humiliating nightmare. Due to the tubes leading into her body, TSA agents insisted on searching under her shirt. Michelle requested that this be done in a privacy room, but the agents denied her request. They insisted that she lift her shirt in front of other passengers. She still had bandages over the site of her recent surgery and the TSA agents insisted in lifting up the bandages and looking underneath at her wounds.
Even though Michelle had followed the airline’s instructions for her IV bags, one TSA agent insisted in breaking one open because it did not register right on their scanners. By opening the bag, they contaminated the contents making them useless to her. They also could have contaminated her surgical wound which could prove disastrous for her. Anyone suffering from leukemia has a very weakened immune system and any infection could be fatal, causing her to die earlier than expected.
How many examples of TSA incompetence and thefts do the American people have to endure before someone does something to either clean up the system or do away with it altogether?