Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved of a solution to help passengers with medical conditions such as Ostomy discreetly inform staff of their condition to avoid any potential communication issues.
These cards do not discriminate from getting screened or not; they are simply to explain your medical condition before any pat-down or screening takes place so you don’t have to shout it out loud across the room, or, not say anything and risk embarrassment like this bladder cancer survivor with Urostomy.
These cards merely state that you have a medical condition that may affect the screening:
“Notification Card: I have the following health condition, disability, or medical device that may affect my screening: (Write-in). I understand that presenting this card does not exempt me from screening.”
The back of the card further reinforces that, if asked, you’re going to have to submit to a screening before you can fly:
“TSA Respects the privacy concerns of all members of the traveling public. This card allows you to describe your health condition, disability, or medical device to the TSA officer in a discreet manner. Alternate procedures which provide an equivalent level of security screening are available and can be done in private. Presenting this card does not exempt you from screening.”
Here is a PDF link where you can download the TSA medical notification cards..
Will these cards do much to help the problem? Some argue that TSA was not listening to travelers in the first place, nor are TSA familiar enough with the potential health conditions and appliances of the travlers they are searching, nor are many of our TSA agents all familiar with the use of these cards. (This is 2010, we’ve got e-mail and blogs, does the U.S. government send the memos out to anyone who works for them?)
Others believe this is a positive step towards a solution that balances both our needs for airline security and our civil liberties.
If you or a loved one has a health condition or a medical device and is asked for either a pat-down or a screening, it is in your best interest to keep one of these cards handy in your pocket when going through the airport to (hopefully) alleviate the potential problems.