Local Man's Urine Spilled in TSA Pat Down

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email
A local man had his own urine spilled on him earlier this month TSA screening at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The Associated Press
A TSA employee checks documents for passengers in line at a security checkpoint at Logan Airport in Boston on Wednesday.

Tom Sawyer said he has never been so embarrassed in his life. On November 7th, he was going through Detroit Metropolitan Airport security when TSA officials told him he needed to be patted down.

"You do what they say or you don't fly," said Sawyer.

Sawyer immediately asked to have the procedure done in a private room. Sawyer said after little debate the officials took him to a small office. Because he didn't have time to put his belt back on, Sawyer said his pants fell down as soon as he entered the room, and that's where the humiliation began.

"You wouldn't think standing with your pants down in front of two other men would be embarassing, but it was. I didn't know them," said Sawyer.

After having to ask twice to pull up his pants, Sawyer tried to tell them about his medical history. But he said TSA didn't seem to acknowledge him at all.

"I told them, 'I need to tell you my medical condition.' But he said, 'It really isn't necessary.' He just continued to tell me about the pat down. He completely ignored my three requests to tell them about my medical condition." Sawyer said with angered enthusiasm.

The 61-year-old is a bladder cancer survivor and has had to wear a urostomy bag to go to the bathroom since his surgery 3 years ago. Despite his warnings, Sawyer says the TSA official proceeded to press down his chest with an open palm until he struck the urostomy bag filled with urine.

"I had a round spot the size of a small pancake and urine was dribbling down my pants," Sawyer said. "This was so embarrassing and humiliating. I didn't have time to cleanup becasue the plane was going to go."

Sawyer was forced to wait until after take off before he could change his clothes. A few weeks later, Sawyer filed a former complaint.

The head of TSA John Pistol said in an interview with CNN that he does understand people's sensitivities, but does not plan to change the pat down policy. Moreover, experiences like this one, might not end with Tom Sawyer.

Sawyer's daughter Elizabeth Danowski is a child psychotherapist. She is concerned that the pat downs could trigger a post-traumatic reaction in her clients or other sexual abuse victims, and then be punished for it.

"You will see people having quite emotional reactions whether is be crying or aggressive behavior," Danowski said.

Tom Sawyer feels no one should be treated the way he was and says he is speaking out for all bladder cancer survivors. Sawyer says he won't make any plans to fly in the future and will never fly alone again.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by non anonymous on Nov 22, 2010 at 08:08 PM
    This is nothing but dog training. Getting the American People used to submitting. This type of Tyranny will help ruin the economy.
  • by Marge Location: Jackson, MI on Nov 22, 2010 at 06:51 PM
    I can relate to this man. I had to wear a colostomy for a while right after I had a colectomy. I had many accidents happen and felt completely embarrassed. I also dated a man who wore a urostomy due to an accident that he had. He would have an accident now and then. My point is that many people have many different reasons for being cautious about being "pat down" and that if someone says they have a medical issue and want to have the "pat down" in private, then they should have that option without being pressured to have it done in public. No one should have to put up with that kind of embarrassment, ever.
  • by Kay Location: Dimondale on Nov 22, 2010 at 06:39 PM
    I worked with Tom a number of years ago. I am sorry this happened to you Tom. You chose a career helping others, you don't deserve this, no one does. I don't know if this is categorized as abuse under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but I do hope you pursue your rights.
  • by Daniel on Nov 22, 2010 at 05:27 PM
    This is absolutely cruel and unusual, people need to wake up and stand up to tyranny and these TSA THUGS. I would sue the TSA into non-existence if they ever did that to me or a loved one.
  • by e. hodgdon Location: elizabeth city on Nov 22, 2010 at 05:22 PM
    This leaves one almost speechless, what they did to him was unpardonable.
  • by Anne Location: Jackson on Nov 22, 2010 at 05:09 PM
    What about teenage children. I am not sure I would be willing to have my 15 and 16 year old daughter felt up, opps patted down. Either way it would be an experiece that could scare them for life. I think I may drive to Florida this year.
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