DESTIN, Fla. - In the latest round of TSA controversy, a woman has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old sickly mother was asked to remove her adult diaper during a security search at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport last Saturday.
According to Northwest Florida Daily News, the elderly wheelchair-bound woman was trying to board a flight to Michigan to be with family during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.
“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil …Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this,” Weber said.
Her daughter, Jean Weber of Destin, says that her mother entered the airport’s security area in a wheelchair because she was not strong enough to walk through. Weber said her mother was first pulled aside to get patted down.
The elderly woman was taken to another room to protect her privacy during the search, and Weber waited outside. When security emerged, they told Weber her mother’s soiled Depends diaper needed to be removed as it was interrupting her search. Weber had to take her mother into the bathroom and remove her diaper, even though there was no clean one to replace it.
While TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz says she could not comment on specific cases, she says that security personnel must react to certain triggers.
“Wheelchairs trigger certain protocols, including pat-downs and possible swabbing for explosives,” Koshetz said.
“The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner.” The whole ordeal took 45 minutes.
Weber says despite safety measures, she wishes there was a less invasive method for elderly people unable to walk.
“I don’t understand why they have to put them through that kind of procedure,” she said.
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