Life was already not very easy for young leukemia patient Michelle Dunaj, and it was made all the more worse by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Dunaj was humiliated in front of a crowd of people during a security search at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport.
TSA officials lifted bandages from recent surgeries as well as her shirt to check feeding tubes and also broke open an IV bag of saline solution in the process, rendering it useless. Despite Dunaj’s request, she was not granted privacy during the search. Dunaj, who is dying of leukemia, was heading to Hawaii for what could possibly be the last trip of her life.
She had called Alaska Airlines ahead of time to request a wheelchair and to ask how her medicines should be separated from the security line. "I did everything they asked me to do, so I didn't think it would be an issue," she said.
But, despite all pre-emptive measures by Dunaj nothing went right at the security checkpoint.
According to TSA spokesperson Ann Davis, ‘Officers are trained to perform pat downs in a dignified manner and, at any point, passengers can request a private screening with a witness present.’ However, Dunaj said that she was denied private screening, and she does not want others with special needs to go through the same embarrassing process.
The TSA website has policies outlined on traveling with medications, including IV bags and other specifics. But, unfortunately that’s not what happened at Sea-Tac.