A woman with a 4″ feeding tube surgically implanted in her abdomen says she makes frequent trips between her home in Texas and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. And while the tube always draws some extra attention at airport security checkpoints, TSA screeners at Dallas Love Field recently went too far in investigating the issue.
“They will see it on their screens, ask her what it is,” her husband tells NBCDFW about the usual treatment his wife receives at checkpoints. “she’d identify it, they may pat it on the outside of her clothing, accept it and go on.”
But yesterday morning, the TSA agents did a more thorough investigation, even though the woman sports a medical bracelet containing all relevant notes from her doctor.
“They had physically stripped her and saw the tube coming out of her stomach, and they decided that they needed to check it for explosives, so they had to physically handle the tube,” says the husband.
The agents also swabbed the tube to test for explosives. This caused the woman and her husband to be concerned about possible infection.
“Any time you put a harsh substance on it, you run the risk of contamination,” he tells NBC. “They put stuff on there that we don’t know what it is and identify. She has a weak immune system as part of her medical condition, and it can be very fatal to her.”
A TSA rep told NBC he couldn’t comment about the particular situation or what might be on the swab used to test the tube, but did confirm that no one should have put their hands on the feeding tube.
After all the stripping and touching and swabbing, the woman was allowed to continue on her way.
A formal complaint has been filed with the TSA.
“It outrages me to think that they can get away with that because they have a single female with a medical condition that is not going to stand up to authority figures and TSA, and say, ‘Guys, this is really across the line,’” says the husband.
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Thanks to Jessie for the tip!