The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has defended a recent pat-down act on a 95-year old cancer patient, Lena Reppert, who was forced to remove her diaper as part of security check.
Jean Weber, Reppert's daughter, has filed a complaint with the federal authorities over the incident.
However, the TSA stood by its officers and released the following statement:
While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner. We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure.
Reppert, who has been fighting cancer for the past 8 years, was asked to remove her adult diaper at the Northwest Regional Airport. Reppert, along with her daughter Weber, was heading to Michigan on June 18 in a wheelchair to visit her last living brother and other family members.
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Wheelchairs trigger employment of other security measures as they can't go through metal detectors.
Weber argues that she does understand the importance of security measures, but asked why they are doing this to a 95-year-old dying woman who is not even able to walk.
Weber said her mother was detained for nearly 45 minutes for security check. Officials first pulled Reppert to another room to get patted down, while Weber was waiting outside.
Then security personnel told Weber that they wanted to remove her mother's soiled Depend diaper as it was blocking their search. Weber rushed her mother into the bathroom and removed her diaper, even though there was no clean one to replace it with. All this happened, when there was only two minutes left for Reppert's flight.
Reppert eventually made her flight, but her daughter Weber said Fox News: It was tough to say goodbye after all of that. But she's at peace, and she's a good Christian woman. They'll be waiting for her up there in Heaven.
Passengers will have to go through additional screening if the authorities found any irregularities with the person at the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit, decline to go through the AIT unit, or who alarm the metal detector.
The screening includes a pat-down search to resolve or detect any concealed items. TSA officials have created these measures after an underwear bomber smuggled plastic explosives onto an airplane in Amsterdam in December 2009.
This is not the first time that the TSA's pat-downs of passengers have come under fire.
Recently, outrage erupted over a video-recorded pat-down of a 6-year-old passenger last April at New Orleans' airport.
On April 27, former Miss USA Susie Castillo said she had been groped and touched inappropriately four times during the enhanced pat-down.