TOPSHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A Topsham woman says the TSA needs more training to deal with people with medical conditions after a going through what she describes as a 'humiliating' screening at the Portland JetPort last week.
A Topsham woman says the TSA needs more training to deal with people with medical conditions after a going through what she describes as a 'humiliating' screening at the Portland JetPort last week.
Claudia Beckwith has a debilitating disease which has left large calcium deposits throughout her body. She says the X-ray clearly showed her medical condition, but claims the TSA thought otherwise.
Claudia Beckwith was looking forward flying to see her friend in North Carolina. It had been more than a decade since she had caught a flight Portland JetPort. When she got the security area a week ago, going through the screening procedures took a little getting used to, but she never expected what happened next.
She said can you please step aside ma'am., said Beckwith. Beckwith has a rare auto-immune disease which has resulted in golf ball size calcium deposits throughout her body. Besides the pain and muscle weakness, Beckwith also has a speech impediment. Those deposits showed up on X-ray machine.
'I told her it was excess calefaction from an illness I had as a child,' said Beckwith.
But Beckwith claims the agent insisted that she roll up her sleeve and show her condition.
'She did mention something about are you carrying something illegal? We don't recognize this you know through our machine,' said Beckwith.
Beckwith says having to prove that she had a disease and wasn't doing anything illegal was demeaning.
A TSA spokeswoman tells NEWS CENTER that footage of the JetPort's security checkpoint did not identify any female passengers who needed to roll up their sleeves for the officers. In a statement TSA says,
'TSA officers assist thousands of passengers with medical conditions every day. They take that responsibility seriously and are trained to work with each traveler to ensure a respectful screening process.
TSA is willing to look into every passenger complaint to ensure proper procedure was followed, however, we can't look into issues if they passenger never brings them to our attention.'
Beckwith says she didn't file a complaint because she was too upset. She also plans to fly again and hopes the TSA will do a better job respecting passengers with medical problems.
The TSA has a helpline called 'TSA Cares' to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. Travelers can call toll free at 1-855-787-2227 or they can go to http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/travelers-disabilities-and-medical-conditions