Sunday, June 26, 2011
Woman claims TSA officers made 95-year-old mother suffering leukemia remove her diaper
A Florida woman claims a TSA officer forced her wheelchair-bound, 95-year-old mother battling leukemia to strip her off diaper for a pat down.
Jean Weber said the horrific incident occurred last weekend at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported.
"It's something I couldn't imagine happening on American soil," she told the newspaper.
Weber claims her mother, who is in the final stages of leukemia, was on her way to Michigan to visit family members. She needed a wheelchair because she did not have the strength to travel through the airport.
The 95-year-old was then subjected to an extensive search, Weber told the News Herald, but she wasn't sure why.
Her mother was taken off the line to a partitioned area for a search, then moved into a private room for a more elaborate examination, Weber claims. She noted she was not in the room at the time.
A TSA officer came out to tell her that her mother had soiled her diaper, and it needed to be changed for them to complete the search, she said.
Weber filed a complaint with the TSA, and will likely file more because of the incident.
"I don't understand why they have to put them through that kind of procedure," she said, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.
The TSA said it could not comment on specific cases.
"The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner," Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, told the Northwest Florida Daily News.
She noted that wheelchairs often spark pat downs, but that a person's age or medical condition cannot exclude them from searches.
"TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability," she said.