SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - An incident at Salt Lake City International Airport is bringing about a refresher course for TSA agents across the nation.
Back at the beginning of May, Savannah Barry, a 16-year-old and type-one diabetic who wears an insulin pump 24 hours per day, was in Salt Lake City with fellow DECA students. When the Colorado teen departed from SLC International she said that TSA agents made her feel like she had to go through the body scanner
instead of doing a pat down.
She told the TSA agent "I wear an insulin pump." She said she then showed the agent the pump. Savannah then told the agent because of the medical device "I usually do a pat down." She said the agent told her to go through the scanner anyway. "When someone in a position of authority tells you it is - you think that it's right."
Savannah said TSA agents then made the situation worse when they didn't know what to do about her juice and insulin. Savannah said that the agent then told her "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." Savannah said that's what she wanted in the first place.
Savannah wasn't sure if the insulin pump was going to continue to work correctly because it went through the scanner. She and her family then complained to TSA officials and said they wanted "TSA screeners to get more training" when it comes to medical devices.
Well, TSA officials have agreed to give screeners that training - a refresher course on medical devices. And that includes insulin pumps like the one Savannah wears. TSA calls it a "National Shift Briefing". And according to a TSA spokeswoman the issue will be discussed directly to agents across the country.
A TSA email, sent to the Savannah's family, reads this way. "The TSA has agreed to provide a "National Shift Brief" which is distributed to all airports to remind Transportation Security Administration personnel of the proper screening of insulin pumps. This includes informing TSA personnel that some insulin pump manufacturers have advised pump users to not be screened using Advanced Imaging Technology because of potential damage to the pump."
The TSA spokeswoman says that agents are taught during training how to deal with medical devices, but this will be a reminder for every single agent. Sandra Barry, Savannah's mother told ABC 4 News that "Savannah is thrilled" by the announcement. And she said "We are hopeful that this will help alleviate confusion among TSA agents and make things easier for those traveling with insulin pumps."
In an email to TSA Savannah added, "We are hopeful that a "National Shift Brief" will be a very good start to solving medical screening issues for diabetic passengers and questions that TSA agents may have."