Amidst public outrage and resistance to the new airport scanning system, the TSA made a huge blunder when they patted down one Holt, MI man. In fact, the debacle was such an embarrassment that the TSA chief issued an apology to the man after he was subjected to a rough pat down that resulted in a broken urostomy bag.
Thomas Sawyer of Holt, MI was traveling recently through Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Sawyer has lived with a urostomy bag for over four years of his life, but never did he experience such an embarrassing moment when the bag was punctured and consequently soaked his t-shirt in urine. TSA spokesman John Fotenos subsequently called Sawyer and apologized and also added that the agency is reviewing the incident.
Sawyer said he is sharing his story to illustrate that airport security personnel need better training for handling people with disabilities. In fact, the man who patted Sawyer down apparently didn’t understand what a urostomy bag was even after Sawyer attempted to explain his medical condition three different times. Sawyer is a retired special education teacher who was first diagnosed with bladder cancer 17 years ago. He had a tumor removed at that time and received treatments for 1 1/2 years. However, his cancer returned in 2006 and his bladder, prostate, lymph nodes, nerves, ureter, and appendix were removed, which is when he started wearing the urostomy bag. Prior to the incident at the airport, Sawyer was a frequent traveler and didn’t let his condition prevent him from enjoying life. However, he doesn’t plan on flying anytime soon and even turned down several offers to fly out-of-state for interviews on the incident.