TSA sorry about breast cancer survivor patdown

A medical device ID card for Lori Dorn's breast implants. TSA agents at Kennedy Airport forced the cancer survivor to undergo a public patdown screening. Lori Dorn/loridorn.me

NEW YORK - A breast cancer survivor said she was subjected to a humiliating public patdown at New York's Kennedy Airport even though she offered to produce documentation about her medical implants.

Business consultant Lori Dorn said on her website that the Transportation Security Administration patdown added insult to injury and humiliated her.

She was heading to San Francisco last week when a full-body scanner detected her prostheses.

She says the TSA agent refused to let her retrieve her medical documentation, and called over a female supervisor who told her 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," Dorn wrote.

"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. ...

"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 s---load of insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation.

"At what point does the need for security eclipse human dignity and compassion?" Dorn wrote. "I can only comfort myself with the fact that Karma is always circular."

After posting the account on her web page, Dorn announced on her Twitter account that the general manager of Kennedy Airport had called her to apologize.

Bob Burns, a Social Media Analyst with the Transportation Security Administration, apologized for the TSA on the agency's blog. "We do our best to treat passengers with the dignity and respect they deserve, but in Lori Dorn's case, it looks like we missed our mark," he wrote. "We sincerely regret and apologize for the experience Mrs. Dorn had at JFK.

"The Federal Security Director for JFK has personally reached out to learn more about what happened so he can help ensure that she and others will have better travel experiences in the future. While security is our primary mission, he apologized to Mrs. Dorn for not delivering the customer respect he wants all passengers flying through JFK to experience and offered to meet her the next time she flies through this airport."

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said that Dorn's medical documentation wouldn't have spared her a patdown, but that it would have been done privately.

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