Monday, October 3, 2011

Cancer Patient Screening At JFK: Treating Passengers with Dignity and Respect

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. 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.
I want to take this opportunity to clarify a few things about the screening process.

Medical cards, whether from a physician or TSA, do not exempt you from screening. They're a great way for passengers to discreetly let us know about a medical situation or disability they have. This is very helpful for the passenger and our officers because it lets us know how to better screen the passenger. Passengers may present these cards at the checkpoint to our officers. In this case, our officers should have allowed the passenger to present her card and been more empathetic to her situation while completing the screening process. Passengers who would like to create their own card can go here.
Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it.
If advanced imaging technology detects an anomaly that cannot be cleared, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing. We sincerely regret any instance such as this one when a passenger does not have a positive experience.

TSA has just rolled out an in-service technical training course focused on screening prosthetics. This curriculum focuses on all types of prosthetics and the requirements of the standard operating procedures related to the screening of Persons with Disabilities and Medical Conditions. It is a four part curriculum with one of the modules focusing on different scenarios and the decision making (critical thinking) process and the outcomes of the decision made by the officer. The training should be complete nationwide in a little over a year.
TSA works with numerous groups including breast cancer organizations to continuously refine and enhance our procedures to improve the passenger experience while also ensuring the safety of the traveling public.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team 

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