TSA Risks Pregnant Woman's Life by Seizing Her Insulin

A pregnant woman from Colorado was going through Denver International Airport on her way to Phoenix, Arizona for a baby shower. She'd flown many places with her insulin and syringes, but said she had never had a problem going through airport security checkpoints because she followed proper protocol for medications. 

This time, however, she was stopped by TSA, and not only were her ice packs for the insulin taken, but her insulin was as well.


Her ice packs were seized because apparently they needed to be totally frozen and hers weren't. But even more alarming, the TSA agents confiscated her insulin, saying that it was an explosives risk.

TSA protocol requires a person traveling with insulin or other medication to declare it at the security checkpoint and present a proper doctor's note and prescription labels; the pregnant woman (who wished to be anonymous) did all of this. But the TSA did not follow through on its side of the bargain -- doing additional screening on any liquid over 3.4 ounces. Instead, they simply seized it.

I've been on a flight before where a man didn't take his insulin, and guess what happened: He collapsed on the floor in the middle of the flight, and the flight attendants had to rush the emergency medical kit out and call ahead to where we were going to be landing for an ambulance. Not having insulin is kind of a big deal.

Let's not forget that when you're pregnant, any risks to your own body, especially things of this magnitude, can directly affect or put your baby at risk as well. It's scary 1) that the TSA doesn't know its own policy, which -- as listed on their website -- allows properly-labeled insulin and insulin tools of many types through, and 2) that this mistake could result in risking someone's life.

Fortunately, the pregnant woman got half a vial of insulin through security (it was at the bottom of her lunch box, which they didn't thoroughly search, go figure) and made arrangements to get more insulin on the other end ... but really? She should not have needed to do so.

For its part, the TSA apologized to the woman but is questioning her story, saying it believes that there was a misunderstanding and that, in fact, no one took her insulin after all. That's not exactly reassuring, is it?

But more important, at what point does this insanity stop? When the TSA isn't confiscating adult diapers, breast milk, cloth menstrual pads, it's doing excessive pat-downs on babies and, meanwhile, allowing stun guns and giant hunting knives on the plane. Is it any wonder I never want to fly ever again?

The woman and her husband have filed a formal complaint against the TSA. Here's hoping she'll get some sort of compensation for her trouble.

What do you think of TSA taking the pregnant woman's properly labeled medication? Have you flown with medication before?


Image via Lazy Taz/Flickr

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