Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino may have put the best spin yet on full-body scans at the airport:  Why not add a “medical application?” “After all, it would be quite a feat if we could somehow combine two of our major national concerns – the spiraling cost of health care and the fight against terrorism – into one tidy solution,” he wrote.

Cerabino conceded the idea did not originate with him but with Mike Kalisz of North Palm Beach, who wrote Cerabino: “The solution to the problem is to have the scanners do more. They could add a medical application that could detect cancer or back problems and, considering the price of these medical procedures, people would be anxious to travel. It would also help with the health care costs, preventive care and help for the uninsured.”

Cerabino expanded on the idea.

“To make this plan more customer-friendly,” he wrote, “airline schedules would be amended to include the type of medical check that comes with the flight, allowing travelers to pick from, say, a ‘hernia to LaGuardia’ from Fort Lauderdale, or an ‘EKG to JFK’ from West Palm.

“And airports could use the new medical/security screening procedures to market themselves, whether it’s touting glaucoma screening on all red-eye flights or through the use of specialized tests: ‘Get you MRI at BWI.'”

Cerabino noted that “the Transportation Security Administration screeners are already wearing rubber gloves at the gate, which will come in handy for some of the more invasive procedures.”

And they have used them already to conduct some pretty invasive procedures.

Reported the News Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina:  “In August, TSA officials at Charlotte Douglas International Airport forced a breast cancer survivor from Charlotte to expose her prosthetic breast. The woman, Cathy Bossi, also happens to be a 32-year veteran flight attendant.”

The Orlando Sentinel took note of an MSNBC report that “a former teacher headed to Orlando for a wedding was humiliated when a TSA pat-down in Detroit Metropolitan airport broke the seal on his urostomy bag and caused his shirt and pants to be soaked in urine.”

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.

  1. Frank Povah

    I dunno, Ron. I can see the humor in it but it seems to me that all this huffin’ and puffin’ is more frustration with the state of the nation as much as anything else and another chance to take a stick to the Federal government for what it has or hasn’t done. The first NBC story on this had a feller saying that the government had no place being involved in airport security.

    Granted, there have been some nasty incidents and I don’t much like the idea of being patted down – “naked-cam” doesn’t bother me so much, anyone who’d get excited over my naked body these days is more deserving of sympathy and help than approbation – but doesn’t the greatest good for the greatest number come into it somewhere?

  2. More looking for needles in haystacks that don’t exist. It’s a strategy that worked so well looking for WMD in Iraq.
    “Failure by design” or “planning to fail” is ever so much better than any random event mother nature might provide. It’s not only better because it’s man-made, but because it fits in so nicely with the “damsel in distress” scenario. Instead of knight in shining armor, we’ve got the much more modern imaging cask.

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