May 20, 2013

TSA Eliminates Use of the CastScope Screening for Amputees

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The Amputee Coalition has announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will no longer use CastScope to screen individuals with prosthetic devices. They will now be screened in the same manner as other travelers.

The CastScope, which uses imaging technology, had been used in selected airports since 2008 for additional screening of those with casts or with prosthetic devices. Unlike a full-body imaging machine, a CastScope x-rays only the area with a prosthetic device, often resulting in as many as 15 or 20 x-rays of one leg. A 2010 survey of 7,300 amputees across the country by the Amputee Coalition shows that travelers with limb loss felt that they had been subjected to inconsistent, unfair, abusive, and often embarrassing screenings by TSA employees. CastScope was often cited in the survey as problematic.

“We are very pleased that [the] TSA listened to the limb loss community and decided to eliminate the use of this technology in screening people wearing prosthetic devices,” said Amputee Coalition board member and chair of the Coalition’s Government Relations Committee Leslie Pitt Schneider. “We believe this action will help to make the screening process less difficult for amputees and air travel less of a barrier.”

For the past five years, the Amputee Coalition, working with other organizations such as the Wounded Warriors, has been advocating for the elimination of the use of the CastScope for airport screening due to increased exposure to radiation and the difficulties it created with the screening process. Often individuals with amputations were forced to stand for long periods of time while x-rays were taken of their prostheses from different angles. In a call held May 16, 2013, with Kimberly Walton, TSA’s assistant administrator for civil rights and liberties, ombudsman and travel engagement, Walton acknowledged that the TSA has taken this action in response to the advocacy efforts of the amputee community as well as individual complaints from those who had experiences with the CastScope.

The TSA continues to recommend that travelers with disabilities and medical conditions visit or contact TSA Cares at 855.787.2227, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, for information before they fly. Travelers with disabilities and medical conditions also can ask for a passenger support specialist when they arrive at a TSA checkpoint.

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