ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A Fort Worth, Texas, woman says she was appalled at the way she was treated by TSA agents at Love Field in Dallas. She's calling for changes in the way security agents handle passengers with medical needs.
The incident in question revolves around a flight to Minneapolis. Melinda Deaton was on her way to the Twin Cities so she could head down to the Mayo Clinic for a series of check-ups following life-saving surgery.
"When I got to the scanner, he points me off," Deaton said. She has a feeding tube, also known as a G tube, in her stomach after she had surgery months ago. "Half is in my body, half is out of my body," she explained.
Deaton says the past dozen times she's flown, TSA agents lightly patted her stomach with her shirt over the tube, and then politely sent her on her way. But this time, she was taken to an area in the security checkpoint. "And they said touch it so we can swab your hands now. Well, I haven't cleaned my hands. I don't ever touch my tube or dry it or clean it or anything without cleaning my hands first," she told KARE 11.
She also argues that she was taken behind a curtain that wasn't too private. The TSA's website states "a security officer will offer you a private screening once it becomes known that you have a metal implant or implanted medical device."
The Texas grandmother also says agents threw away her pudding and apple sauce packs, even though they were packed and carried according to the rules. Deaton can only eat soft foods because of her medical condition.
"My problem with all of it is there's no procedure in place. There was no respect. At this point, I'm embarrassed, I'm humiliated. People (at the checkpoint) are seeing this. This wasn't done privately," she says. Her husband has filed a formal complaint.
The TSA sent out a written statement, saying, in part: "We are presently investigating. We respect the right to privacy of the passenger and will reach out directly to her."
Deaton says she doesn't want an apology. "Something has to change so nobody else gets treated like this. My "gastro" this morning said 'are you going to rent a car to drive home?' I said I've considered it," she concluded.
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