Agents then demanded pat-down to make sure fruit juice, insulin was “not an explosive”
Source: Steve Watson
A sixteen year old diabetic girl was forced to walk through a TSA body scanner by screeners while wearing an insulin pump, resulting in the expensive equipment being broken, and putting her health in jeopardy.
Savannah Barry, who suffers from type one diabetes, meaning she has to wear an insulin pump at all times, says that TSA screeners spoke to her rudely and displayed complete ignorance with regards to her medical condition.
“They need to get with the program and have some education across the board for TSA,” she told an ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City after the incident last week.
“I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down – what would you recommend?” Miss Barry said, adding that she also showed the TSA screener a doctor’s note explaining that the $10,000 piece of medical equipment should not be put through a radiation firing body scanner.
When the screener told her to walk through the scanner anyway, miss Barry said she questioned the request. “Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you’re fine.”
“When someone in a position of authority tells you it is – you think that its right.” she added.
Miss Barry’s mother called the makers of the insulin pump, who told her that they could not guarantee that it would function correctly after being exposed to the radiation from the body scanner. The company advised that miss Barry should come off the pump as soon as the plane landed and switch to insulin shots.
“My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on. Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump,” miss Barry said.
To make matters worse, after she had walked through the body scanner, other TSA screeners stopped her and demanded a full pat down because she was carrying insulin and fruit juice to control blood sugar levels.
“She said, because we don’t have the machines to scan the juice to make sure this is not an explosive we do have to do a full body pat down and search your through your bags,” miss Barry said.
“At that point I was really frustrated because what I really wanted was the pat-down in the first place,” she added.
“When they saw her juice, they panicked and they didn’t know what to do,” said miss Barry’s mother. “A diabetic is going to need a source of sugar, preferably liquid. I can assure you she’s not going to blow up a 737 with an insulin pump and three Capri Sun Juice(s),” she added.
“It’s unacceptable and I don’t want other people to feel the way that I felt. I was humiliated, absolutely humiliated,” said miss Barry.
The TSA says it is reviewing the incident and refused to comment further.
It seems that the TSA has still not learned its lesson regarding insulin and diabetics. Last year we reported on a similar incident where a screener confiscated a pregnant woman’s insulin and ice packs, claiming they were “at risk for explosives.”
As we highlighted at the time, the TSA’s own website clearly states that insulin and all standard supplies associated with diabetes are permitted through the checkpoint.