TSA to Blame for Broken 16-year old Savannah Barry’s Insulin Pump.
Savannah Barry, a 16-year old diabetic who wears a $10,000 insulin pump 24 hours a day, was told to go through the scanner even after she showed the TSA agents a doctor’s note. The note explained that the sensitive insulin pump should not go through the body scanner.
Savannah Barry was returning to Denver, Colorado from a DECA conference school trip in Salt Lake City, Utah with several other classmates. Savannah says the TSA agents were not prepared to deal with her medical situation. “I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down, but what would you recommend?”
The Salt Lake City TSA agent directed her to the full body scan. Savannah Barry recalls, “I was like, ‘Are you sure that I can go through with this insulin pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump at all?’ And she was like, ‘No, no, you’re fine.’ So I went through with my pump. Some part of me knew that it wasn’t OK, but when someone in a position of authority is telling you it is, you think that it’s right.”
The 16-year-old diabetic walked into the body scanner with worries, “My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on.” She says the pump stopped working correctly. “Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump.”
It gets worse for the 16-year old diabetic. The TSA agents were unsure what to do about her juice and insulin. Savannah Barry’s mother, Sandra told ABC7 Denver, “When they saw her juice, they panicked and they didn’t know what to do. A diabetic is going to need a source of sugar, preferably liquid. I can assure you she’s not going to blow up a 737 with an insulin pump and three Capri Sun Juices.”
After Savannah Barry went through all the hassle of walking through a body scanner and being pat down, she felt something wasn’t right. She called her mother who then called the insulin pump manufacturer. “They said she’s got to take that pump off as soon as she lands. And my heart just sank, because I know how expensive they are. I knew how upset she would be, and I knew that I had to be the one, when I got to Denver International Airport, to tell her.”
Sandra Barry told ABC7 Denver, “They can’t guarantee that the software isn’t damaged by the TSA’s technology that they use, so her blood sugar could run high or her blood sugar could run low. So thankfully, it’s just about a 1 hour flight, a little bit over an hour. So I knew if something was going to be wrong or not working we had a short amount of time that she was in the air.”
Thankfully, a company heard about Savannah Barry’s incident and she already has a new insulin pump.
Salt Lake City ABC4 News asked TSA about the incident and received an email that says: “TSA is reviewing the passenger’s screening experience and will respond directly to the family. TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly.”
TSA Breaks Insulin Pump of Savannah Barry
Picture Credit: ABC4 News