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Breast Cancer Survivor “Humiliated” by TSA at JFK Airport–TSA Wins Asshole of the Week Award

October 4, 2011
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 22:  A sign stands in front...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Let me just put this frankly:  I have only twice encountered a truly polite TSA agent.  I fly about every three months.  I don’t want a full-body scan because I fly frequently enough that I don’t want the radiation.  Dental x-rays alone make me nervous.  But, I have heard continuously about TSA humiliations, and women with breast prosthesis are harassed, it seems, frequently.  The most recent round involves a full-breast pat-down in front of other passengers.

The breast cancer survivor was subjected to a public shaming session by TSA associates:

A breast cancer survivor says she was subjected to a humiliating public patdown at a New York airport even though she offered to produce documentation about her medical implants.

Business consultant Lori Dorn said in a blog that the patdown at John F. Kennedy International Airport added “insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.”

The TSA later apologized for the incident.

Dorn was heading to San Francisco last week when a full-body scanner detected her prostheses. Dorn said she explained she had recently undergone bilateral mastectomy and had tissue expanders implanted for future breast reconstruction. A Transportation Security Administration agent refused to let her retrieve documentation from her wallet “that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information,” she said.

“I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers,” Dorn said.

In a tweet on her Twitter account Monday, Dorn said she received an apology from a JFK official “who agreed that proper policy wasn’t followed.”

While the TSA says that it is doing work to improve training of its agents, it’s only a matter of time before the TSA is sued for damages. In fact, if I were Lori Dorn, I would sue.   It seems the TSA is incapable of policing its poorly trained staff.

Lori’s husband has written about the incident as well:

TSA Requires Breast Cancer Patient To Submit To Pat Down After Scan

By on October 2, 2011


My wife Lori Dorn, who has breast cancer, tells her story about a TSA agent at JFK on Thursday who required her to submit to a pat down due to her breast implants after she went through a backscatter X-ray scanner. She had an identification card for the implants that is used to prove that the implants are an actual medical device, but the TSA agent would not let Lori show her the card. The TSA agent was extremely rude, humiliating her in front of other travelers and showing zero compassion for her situation.

Here’s Lori’s write-up about the incident and a couple of lively discussion is taking place on Google+ here and here.

Lori has been posting updates on her twitter account: @HRLori

Frankly, it’s ludicrous that the TSA continues to allow women to be humiliated.  I, personally, won’t go through the electronic strip search just to fly on a plane, or to be pat-searched by people in an airport.  I know that everyone is concerned about safety, but realistically, people, a pat-down wouldn’t have prevented 9/11.  There is no proof to suggest that increased security measures a.k.a. strip searches, really do protect us from terrorists.  Sure, people get to see naked images of passengers, or to feel them up without recrimination, but does it really protect us?

Lori’s friend spoke out against the TSA too, and I just want to say that I think Lori is a lucky women to have friends like this:

Basically, my dear friend Lori, was stopped during a TSA scan on Friday and was made to go through a very invasive screening.  Read the story here:

She had breast cancer and they wanted to feel her breasts.  Why? Because she has medical devices where her original breasts once were.  TSA? You are rat bastard shit for brains.  Yes, that is a broad generalization and I don’t know who runs the TSA.  I hold them all accountable for being disgusting waste of space pieces of garbage…

I want someone to step up to the TSA and say this is NOT how you treat a human being, this is NOT how you treat a paying customer.  Virgin America should step up and say this is NOT ok.  Until the airlines step in and tell the TSA to stop being such a bunch of worthless drops of piss, nothing will change.

Oh sure, don’t fly.  Oh sure, take a bus.  Whatever man.  Flying is a RIGHT.  It was as soon as the Wright brothers invented it.  This is AMERICA.  And America is losing its humanity and capability to treat people how they’d like to be treated.

I #blameTSA, and you should too.

Wake up folks, Lori could have been your sister, your mom, your gramma, your WIFE.

I love you Lori, and fuck you TSA.

I edited for space, because I wanted to put this on my page too, commentary from the woman who was humiliated:

At what point does the need for security eclipse human dignity and compassion?

Yesterday I went through the imaging scanner at JFK Terminal 4 for my Virgin America flight to San Francisco.  Evidently they found something, because after the scan, I was asked to step aside to have my breast area examined.  I explained to the agent that I was a breast cancer patient and had a bilateral mastectomy in April and had tissue expanders put in to make way for reconstruction at a later date.

I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information (pictured) and asked to retrieve it.  This request was denied.  Instead, she called over a female supervisor who told me the exam had to take place.  I was again told that I could not retrieve the card and needed to submit to a physical exam in order to be cleared.  She then said, “And if we don’t clear you, you don’t fly” loud enough for other passengers to hear.  And they did.  And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a TSA Supervisor.

To my further dismay, my belongings, including my computer, were completely out of sight. I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers.

I just didn’t understand why these agents were so insensitive to the situation. I would have been happy to show her which bag was mine and have her retrieve the card, but she did not allow even that. I have been through emotional and physical hell this past year due to breast cancer.  The way I was treated by these TSA agents added a shitload of insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.

I understand the need for safety when flying, but there is also a need for those responsible to be compassionate and sensitive to each situation.  These agents were neither.

I can only comfort myself with the fact that Karma is always circular.

Karma may be circular, but the logic for the TSA should not be–we are not safer because a breast cancer survivor was publicly fondled and humiliated.  She was molested, under the fear-mongering guise of “safety.”  LoriDorn, we support you, and every other woman who has been in that situation too.  I have to agree with your friend:  Fuck You TSA.  TSA is now the proud winner of the Asshole of the Week Award.


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