Cancer patient Michelle Dunaj embarrassed by TSA
(AP, ABC7) - A leukemia patient making what she calls an "end-of-life" trip to Hawaii says she was embarrassed by security agents at the Seattle airport who refused her request for a private pat-down and made her lift her shirt and pull back her bandages.
Michelle Dunaj also says an agent at Sea-Tac Airport opened a saline bag, contaminating fluid she needs to survive.
TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis tells KOMO-TV it's against policy to deny a private screening for passengers who request it. The agency is investigating.
The security screening happened last week as the Detroit-area woman was traveling through Seattle to Hawaii.
Dunaj says she thought she had prepared, calling the airline ahead of time to request a wheelchair and ask how to send her medicines through security.
"I did everything they asked me to do so I didn't think it would be an issue,” Dunaj says.
But during the screening, she says 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 says TSA agents made her lift her shirt to pull back the bandages. With passengers staring, she asked for privacy and she says she was told no.
"They just said that it was fine,” she says. “The location we were at was fine."
Dunaj says she doesn't want other people with special needs to have the same bad experience.
"And 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," she says.