In the news recently was a story about a 16 year old young girl who was returning from a conference. She happened to have diabetes and was wearing an insulin pump. She had a letter from her doctor stating that she could not go through the scanners but would require a body search. TSA screeners in Salt Lake City felt that they knew better than this young lady or her doctor and required her to go through a full-body scanner.
She has since claimed that this act resulted in the malfunctioning of her $10,000 insulin pump. She is not happy. Her parents are not happy and many in the diabetes community are left asking, “What are we supposed to do?”
For me, we have done both the patdown and gone through a screener. Until recently I have told the security personnel that my son is wearing an insulin pump and we would prefer he be patted down. At one point they argued with me stating that as pumpers themselves, they constantly exposed themselves and their pumps to the scanner machines with absolutely no adverse effects. We decided to finally give it a try. Of course my son had some other item on his body that set off the alarm and still had to be pat down but his pump did not see any adverse damage.
So the question remained, for those of us who will be traveling by air and having to go through airport security what do we do? According to an Animas statement released in response to the Salt Lake City incident (May 2012 Standby Statement) “…we recommend that our patients avoid going through X-ray machines when traveling, as the machines may potentially damage the pump’s software and therefore affect insulin delivery. This includes the newest airport screening tool, Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or full body scanner.” They further advise pumpers to alert TSA employees that they are insulin pump users and should NOT undergo an X-ray machine. Animas will also provide a letter to its customers that can be shared with airport personnel should they be questioned or asked to be scanned. If Animas pumpers have any further concerns, they can visit www.animas.com or call 877-767-7373.