TSA Pat-Down Leaves Mich. Man Covered in Urine

Tom Sawyer of Romulus, Mich., a 61-year-old bladder cancer survivor, says an aggressive airport security pat-down dislodged and spilled his urostomy bag, and he had to board a plane with his clothing soaked with urine. 7078727 WLNS

A bladder cancer survivor from Michigan who wears a urostomy bag that collects his urine says a rough pat-down by a security agent at Detroit Metropolitan Airport caused the bag to spill its contents on his shirt and pants.

Tom Sawyer told CBS Affiliate WLNS that on November 7, after electing to go through the airport's new full-body scanner, he was pulled to the side to be patted down by a TSA agent.

The 61-year-old retired special education teacher said he asked to be examined more discreetly.

Sawyer told WLNS correspondent Jessica Maki that after being taken to a private area, he alerted the TSA agents about his urostomy bag and the danger of its lid being undone, but they didn't listen.

And when the pat-down began, Sawyer says the agent was so rough, the cap on the urostomy bag came off, spilling urine on him.

"No apology, no recognition - Is that urine? - no nothing, no offer to help me," Sawyer said. "And I had to face the fact that I had to walk through the airport with urine."

Describing the episode to the Detroit Free Press, Sawyer said he broke down crying: "I was just so embarrassed, so humiliated."

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Once he and his wife were finished with security, Sawyer changed his bag, but had no time to change clothes so as not to miss his flight to Orlando.

He had to board the plane soaked in urine.

"I was embarrassed to death," Sawyer said.

Sawyer has sent complaints to several TSA officials.

Sawyer told Maki that for people who use a urostomy bag to collect urine, "Our biggest nightmare is that in public something will happen. My nightmare came true."

On CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said he had "great concern over anybody who has felt like they have not been treated properly or have had something embarrassing like that happen."

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network says bladder cancer survivors "deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by TSA agents."

According to the Bethesda, Md.-based group, there are more than 500,000 bladder cancer survivors in the U.S.

"No one living with an ostomy should have to fear flying because of concerns that they might be humiliated at an airport security checkpoint," the group's website states.

Sawyer's daughter, Elizabeth Danowski, told WLNS that she had a message for the TSA: "Do your job. Absolutely, we want you to do your job. I want to get on a plane and feel safe; I have a five year old, I want to know that when I fly with him we are safe.

"But do it with some human decency - listen."


More on TSA Enhanced Screening Controversy:

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TSA Chief: No Change in Screening Policy
Torches & Pitchforks at Airport Security
Obama: I Understand Rage Over Enhanced Screening
TSA Modifies Screening Rule for Pilots
TSA Makes Cancer Victim Remove Prosthetic Breast
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