Friday, February 22, 2013

If I was one of these children...

On two separate occasions in the United States, within the past twelve months, two young children were terrorized by TSA workers.  As if that isn't horrible enough, these children are disabled and in wheelchairs.  The young victims were three year-old Lucy Forck and the three year-old son of Matt DuBiel.  

Do not misunderstand where my issue lies.  I do not think that being disabled means that you should not have to follow basic rules of safety just like everyone else.  However, if a person is a wheelchair user then there is likely a significant medical reason.  Some wheelchair users, myself included, are classified as "medically fragile."  Patting down a person who is medically fragile could absolutely endanger his/her life.

If I was one of these children, the end result would have been even more tragic.  I would have needed to be hospitalized and my Mother would have been arrested.   

I have a brittle bone condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI.)  Children who have the more severe form of OI like I do tend to be extremely glass.  As a child, I broke my own ribs just by sneezing.  Needless to say, if I was patted down by someone who was not properly trained in the handling of OI children, I likely would have sustained multiple fractures.  Can you imagine how this could affect a parents protective instinct?  My Mother would have taken out at least two TSA Agents before they got her down and joke.  Where do you think I got my mammoth sized ladyballs from?

I am not one to take the time to blog about a problem without offering some possible solutions.  My suggestions may not be ideal but they may hopefully lead to a more humane TSA protocol.

  • When person with a disability (PWD) requires a traveling companion, the PWD must never be required to separate from his/her traveling companion.
  • When a PWD needs to be transferred out of a wheelchair, the traveling companion should be the person to do this...unless of coarse the PWD can do it himself/herself.
  • Only a trained medical person should be permitted to pat down a PWD.
  • PWD who are medically fragile and intend to travel should have a statement from his/her primary care physician or specialist that states his/her patient is "medically fragile." This document should be kept on the PWD's body and should be honored by TSA.

These are my suggestions.  How do you feel about them?  Do you have any better ideas?  Let's talk about this and get an acceptable solution implemented before more people are victimized in the name of 'safety.'

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