SAN ANTONIO -- A woman is speaking out in hopes of restoring her dignity. She said a TSA agent at the San Antonio International Airport pulled her prosthesis without notifying her.
The woman, Suzanne Steiner, is a breast cancer survivor. She said she never thought her prosthesis would make her feel embarrassed.
What was supposed to be a fun vacation to Orlando, began with a travel day Suzanne Steiner won't soon forget.
"I have never been treated like this," Steiner said.
In early May, after passing through the full body scanner at the airport, Steiner was pulled to the side by a female TSA agent.
"She started to search me, only my right breast," Steiner said. "And I said, 'Oh that's alright, that's my prosthesis, I've had a mastectomy.'
"So she starts searching more, and I thought, 'what the heck is all that about?'."
Steiner said the agent never acknowledged her or told her what she was doing. Instead, according to Steiner, the agent proceeded to pull the prosthesis out of her bra, about an inch away from her body.
"I don't cry easily, and I sat at the gate nearly in tears," she said.
Steiner said when she tried to file a complaint that day, TSA agents were insensitive. One agent told her, "you set off an alarm, you should expect to be checked". Already embarrassed, Steiner said that made the situation even worse.
"You don't need to be treated poorly. You need to be allowed to retain your dignity and I was not afforded that in this instance," Steiner said.
A spokesperson for TSA gave KENS 5 the following statement:
TSA officers are trained and expected to perform screening methods in a dignified and respectful manner at all times. We work to make our screening procedures as minimally invasive as possible while providing the highest level of security for the traveling public.
Complaints about pat down procedures are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. We regret that this passenger had an unpleasant experience and have discussed her concerns with her directly.
TSA encourages passengers with medical issues or disabilities to visit http://www.tsa.gov before traveling for information about procedures. Passengers can also call the TSA Cares Help Line at 855-787-2227 in advance of travel with questions or to help prepare for screening.