TSA strip-searched woman with a feeding tube, her husband says


A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration at Miami International Airport on October 4, 2011 in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

When you hear the word "terrorist," what image comes to your mind? If you're picturing a grandmother with a feeding tube hanging out of her stomach, then you might work for the TSA.

Melinda Deaton, from Forth Worth, Texas, says that she was humiliated by TSA agents as she tried to go through security at the Dallas Love Field airport, WFAA reported

"When I got to the scanner, he points me off," Deaton told KARE 11. Deaton explained that she had a feeding tube that was half in and half out of her stomach. Deaton said that on previous flights, TSA agents just lightly patted the device over her shirt. But not this time.  

According to Deaton, the TSA agents took her to an area behind a curtain that wasn't too private, and asked to see the tube. "When I pulled my shirt out and they catch a glimpse of it, they both go, 'Ugh!'" Deaton told WFAA. "I said, 'Thank you for your professionalism.'"

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The TSA, meanwhile, has a dramatically different account about what happened. The TSA says that they have already conducted an investigation into Deaton's allegations, and found that the agents did nothing wrong, ABC News reported. The agency told ABC that it was Deaton who lifted her shirt up without being asked to. 

But Deaton's husband was also a witness to the incident, which he describes as a strip-search that put her health at risk: "They had physically stripped her and saw the tube coming out of her stomach, and they decided that they needed to check it for explosives, so they had to physically handle the tube," John Deaton told NBC.