Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Terminally Ill 95-Year-Old Woman Forced to Remove Adult Diaper during TSA Search

A 95-year-old Florida woman was forced to remove her soiled adult diaper during a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport screening. Her daughter has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security following the incident.

According to the Panama City News Herald, the complaint was filed by Jean Weber on behalf of her mother, who was detained and invasively searched while trying to board a flight from Northwest Florida Regional Airport to Michigan to make what could be a final visit to family members. The terminally ill woman is in the final stages of leukemia.

Passengers in wheelchairs are singled out for extra scrutiny, and the woman, who was wheelchair-bound, was asked to remove her Depends diaper because it was soiled and impeding the TSA agents’ search. Weber and her mother went into a bathroom and removed the diaper. They didn’t have a fresh one, so her mother had to board her flight unprotected against embarrassing and messy accidents.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber told the News Herald. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this. I don’t understand why they have to put them through that kind of procedure.”

TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, while refusing to comment on this specific case, told the News Herald that her agency “works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner. TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability.”

But Weber says that if the TSA screeners were “just following rules and regulations, then the rules and regulations need to be changed.”

“I’m not one to make waves, but dadgummit, this is wrong,” she told the News Herald. “People need to know. Next time it could be you.”

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