SALT L AKE CITY – A Colorado teen is upset with screeners at Salt Lake City International Airport. The type one diabetic says TSA agents were abrupt, rude and were responsible for breaking her $10,000 insulin pump. A pump she has to have to survive.
Savannah Barry is mad and on a mission. She wants travelers to be warned before they walk through TSA security. “They need to get with the program and have some education across the board for TSA.” After participating in a DECA conference in Salt Lake City with several classmates last week, Savannah, who is a type one diabetic and wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day, says she ran into TSA agents who were not prepared to deal with her medical situation. “I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down – what would you recommend?”
Savannah then showed agents a doctor’s note explaining that the sensitive insulin pump should not go through the body scanner. She says she was told to go through it anyway. “When someone in a position of authority tells you it is – you think that its right. So, I said, Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you’re fine.”
The 16-year-old walked into the scanner with some serious reservations “My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on.” She was right to be worried. She says the pump stopped working correctly. “Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump.”
She says TSA agents then made the situation worse when they didn’t know what to do about her juice and insulin. “She said, because we don’t have the machines to scan the juice to make sure this is not an explosive we do have to do a full body pat down and search your through your bags.” Of course, that’s what she wanted in the first place, but it was too late.
Savannah believes TSA screeners need more training. And she says, until that happens – people with medical conditions need to be warned. “It’s unacceptable. And I don’t want other people to feel the way I felt.”
We asked TSA about the incident. We received an email that says “TSA is reviewing the passenger’s screening experience and will respond directly to the family. TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly.”
TSA also has a tollfree hotline for passengers with medical conditions. They can call it before hand to find out about policies and procedures. 1-855-787-2227.
Savannah (see picture) already has a new insulin pump. A company that heard her story quickly got it to her when she got back to Colorado.