Woman battling leukemia says TSA went too far
SEATTLE, W.A. (WHDH) -- A woman dying from cancer said a security pat down at Seattle's Airport left her embarrassed in front of crowds of people.
She said screeners checked under her bandages and refused to give her a private screening, as she requested.
She even took steps to prepare for the screening process beforehand.
As airport screening measures evolve, travelers must constantly adjust to new requirements.
Michelle Dunaj tried to do everything right for one of the last trips of her life, but said TSA humiliated her.
Dunaj is dying of leukemia and carried a large amount of prescription drugs through Seattle’s airport last week for a trip to Hawaii.
She called Alaska Airlines ahead of time for a wheelchair and to ask how her medicines should be separated for the security line.
“I did everything they asked me to do so I didn't think it would be an issue,” said Dunaj.
But during the screening, she said nothing went right.
A machine couldn't get a reading on her saline bags.
So, a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive.
Because of organ failure, Dunaj also has feeding tubes into her stomach.
She said agents made her lift her shirt to pull back the bandages.
With passengers staring, she asked for privacy and said she was told no.
“They just said that it was fine. The location we were at was fine,” said Dunaj.
TSA said, "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."
Clearly Dunaj's request wasn't honored.
TSA’s website has information for people traveling with wheelchairs or unusual medicines, and asks passengers to contact them directly.
Dunaj said she doesn't want other people with special needs to have the same bad experience.
Her final days are too precious to spend a single moment being mistreated.
“When somebody wants to take a trip, especially what I call an end-of-life trip, because you want to see your family and friends, then it becomes more important than just taking a trip,” said Dunaj.