Teen Blames TSA For Broken Insulin Pump

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Fisher1949, May 8, 2012.

  1. Ciarin

    Ciarin Member

    I don't think I made that claim.

    If she asked me for my recommendation I would tell her that I don't think she would have a problem if she went through the scanner. If she told me she's opting out because her doc told her to, then I call for someone to pat her down.

    I don't think giving a recommendation means I'm "trumping" someone else.
  2. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    The letter doesn't matter. As we've seen before, the only thing that matters is whether the screener thinks the victim is cute or not.
    Caradoc likes this.
  3. Ciarin

    Ciarin Member

    You could make the case that I was fed false information, but you're not. You're claiming that I'm lying.
  4. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I never said they had not been tested; TSA allegedly had them "tested" and we all know what that is worth.


    Not one independent party has been given an actual backscatter as designed to be used in an airport to evaluate. Actually, although the TSA says that National Insitutes of Standards and Technology said the machines were safe, the NIST never tested the machines and says that the TSA "mischaracterized" their comments on the machines.

    And, by the way, the TSA has had these machines declared "electronic" devices in order to get around the FDA's testing requirements for machines that emit radiation.
    Lisa Simeone and phoebepontiac like this.
  5. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    That wasn't the question.
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Correct. The simple defense would be to cite the information that you've been given. You haven't.
  7. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    OK, I have a bit of "experience" when dealing with insulin pumps at the airport. My DIL is an insulin-dependent diabetic (juvenile onset), and she has one of those fancy-dancy pumps that automatically reads a signal that is transmitted by her meter. When she tests her blood sugar level (which she must do at least 10 times per day), the meter sends a signal to her pump to tell it how much insulin to inject.

    My thinking is that if MMW works on RF (Radio Frequency) wavelengths, it could interfere with those signals and possibly mess up her pump.

    In fact, my DIL's doctor told her specifically (and put it in writing) to NEVER, EVER go through ANY scanner at the airport (BKSX or MMW) and that she should ask for a medical exception to be allowed to walk through the WTMD instead.
    phoebepontiac and Lisa Simeone like this.
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    It this testing, or rather lack of testing and lack of transparency, where TSA fails miserably.

    I work as a Principal Engineer on embedded field devices -- devices that communicate measurements to and accept instructions from industrial control & monitoring systems. The development of any product involves a lot of testing, certifications and approvals by third parties on areas covering not only interoperability with other products but safety and environment issues, e.g. EMI, noise injections, electrical safety, etc.

    TSA just wants us to accept their word that all is well. Their word isn't good enough.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Even if she asked for a recommendation, the Smurfchen aren't qualified to provide one.
  10. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I used to be a product manager for a line of USB devices - cameras and other video gear. The rigor applied to FCC certifications for such devices doesn't come anywhere close to the levels applied to medical devices.

    (We had one device certified by NASA to get on the Shuttle, too - and that was a whole new can of worms.)

    What I've seen come from the TSA on their scanners is purely a joke even by the consumer-electronics certifications... You are correct - their word simply isn't good enough.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  11. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Ok, show us the test results.
  12. RB

    RB Founding Member

    It is not a beta unless someone is collecting data.
  13. RB

    RB Founding Member

    It is coercion because the young lady sees a person wearing a fake cop uniform and believes they have to obey their instructions, otherwise they will be accused of interfering with the screening process.
  14. Yeah, and it's far from a controlled situation. Any damage done by the scanners to anybody or anything may not be recognized before they walk away from the checkpoint, and it may not be reported to the TSA, and may not be recognized as damaged by the scanner if it takes a while for symptoms or malfunction to occur.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    No testing does seem to be the fact of the matter. Radiation testing would take years to determine if the exposure to humans had negative effects. I have seen nothing proving that either the Backscatter or the MMW has had any kind of independent testing of any kind.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  16. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Not to mention that many people wait a long time to get approved for a pump. I'm sure they are going to do everything they can to destroy the device that gives them some normalcy.
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  17. spd

    spd Member

    I've been lurking here for a while and occasionally post on FT. I use a pump and it appears I use the same one (Animas Ping) as the teenager. This model does communicate wirelessly with the glucose meter. I'm wondering if the frequency the MMW machines use could interfere with this pump. The other possiblilty is that the machine isn't calibrated correctly and is putting out more energy than normal. It could be that the pump cannot handle the scanners and Animas is correct in telling pump users to avoid the scanners.

    The one thing I haven't seen confirmation of is the condition of the pump. One story said that the pump stopped working properly. A different story said that Animas couldn't guarantee that the pump was operating correctly and told her to stop using it. I would be interested to know if the scanner actually damaged the pump or if Animas is covering their own (expletive deleted) and saying it might not work properly. The pump does seem durable. I think it should be able to handle the MMW, but I'm not going to risk it. I wonder if the TSA would let the pump manufacturers test using an actual MMW machine. I can't imagine that would be SSI. The BKSX wouldn't work anyway since the pumps aren't supposed to be exposed to x-rays.

    I've emailed Animas in the past about going through the scanners. Both times, someone from Animas called me to tell me not go through the scanners. The last time was in February after getting a very invasive patdown for opting out. In that case, the TSO tried to coerce me into the scanner. I was told the "less energy than a cell phone", "less radiation than 2 minutes in an airplane", etc. He even told me to tell my doctor the scanner was safe for insulin pumps. I never mentioned my doctor, but told him the manufacturer said not to go through the scanner.
  18. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Has anyone even seen any indication that *any* tissue testing has been done with these scanners - animal or human?
  19. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    spd, welcome, and sorry to hear about your experience, which, alas, is all too typical. Thank you also for the information about what the blue shirts told you and what they tried to get you to do. Sounds like they punished you for opting-out, which is, again, typical, as we've documented umpteen times.
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Insulin Pumps, Personal CGM and Security

    • You can continue to wear your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) while going through common security systems such as an airport metal detector as it will not harm the device or trigger an alarm. Do not send the devices through the x-ray machine as an alternative

    • You need to remove your insulin pump and CGM (sensor and transmitter) while going through an airport body scanner. If you do not wish to remove your devices, you may request an alternative pat-down screening process

    • Notify security screeners that you have diabetes, that you are wearing an insulin pump and are carrying supplies with you
    Q: How do I get my pump through airport security?

    A: While going through airport security, please keep these important things in mind. Your pump should not go through the X-ray screening that is used for carry-on or checked luggage. The new airport screening, Whole Body Imaging Technology, is also a form of X-ray. If you are chosen to go through this form of screening, you will need to disconnect from the pump at your skin site prior to the scan and request alternate methods of screening the pump other than using X-ray. Your infusion set may remain in place. For more information on traveling with pumps, in the United States, visit the American Diabetes Association website, www.diabetes.org. You can also call your local airport or airline for security guidelines that may apply.


    We didn't test these Naked Body Scanners but go ahead in. We think, well guess really, that your $10,000 medical device might work after we get done looking at your naked body.
    jtodd, Caradoc and Lisa Simeone like this.

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