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TSA answers screening accusations and ABC 4 viewer questions

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - An ABC 4 News story is sparking outrage and a demand for change at airports across the country. And the TSA is now resonding to the outrage.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - An ABC 4 News story is sparking outrage and a demand for change at airports across the country. And the TSA is now responding to that anger.

On Monday, we told you about a teenager who accused TSA agents at Salt Lake City International with causing her insulin pump to malfunction. Savannah Barry says she showed the female agent her the pump and then said, "What do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down - what would you recommend?"

She says the agent told her to go through the body scanner. Savannah says she then explained that her doctor told her the sensitive insulin pump should not go into the scanner.

According to the 16-year-old she said one last time to the agent, "Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It's not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you're fine."

She says that her pump then malfunctioned and then agents made the situation worse because they didn't know what to do about her juice and insulin so they ended up also doing a "full body pat down" and searched through her bags.

That's what she wanted in the first place, but it was too late. She adds the agents were rude and abrupt and acted like they didn't know anything about the insulin pump or how to handle it.

ABC 4 News has been told that Savannah is determined to push for changes. She is scheduled to appear on CNN to do an interview on Thursday, May 10th.

Since the story aired on ABC 4 and since it went online - it has been read or viewed on our website nearly 300,000 times. And the comments and emails about other run-ins with TSA continue to come in as well.

Sherry Ruesch, an administrator at Dixie College in St. George who also wears an insulin pump, says she had an experience just like the one Savannah complained about. She told me that while at SLC International she tried to just send her pump through the x-ray machine to avoid an issue.

She says agents told her to go ahead and wear it instead. She says that wearing became a major issue and lead a search, pat down and a lot of wasted time. "I would assume TSA agents would recognize an insulin pump and wouldn't treat me like I had an explosive device strapped to my leg."

Paulette Fowler, a nurse in Salt Lake, told me she was asked to remove her insulin pump and run it through the x-ray machine. The exact opposite thing that happened to Ruesch.

Several viewers have made comments about a lack of training at TSA and the lack of consistency. Even Savannah's family has said they would like to see "uniform training across the board." They tell me that at this point that is their ultimate goal. They just "don't want other people to feel the way" that Savannah felt during her ordeal.

However, on Wednesday the TSA answered those allegations and said it does do uniform training. I was told over the phone that the TSA was talking to Savannah and her parents about the ordeal and working on the issue.

Spokeswoman Ann Davis also told me that TSA has "standard training procedures" and that agents "undergo several hours of classroom training" before going out in the security area. Davis says that the "training is the same everywhere." She says agents also have to go through an "annual re-certification."

While Davis would not get into details about Savannah's case she did tell me that agents actually are trained about dealing with medical devices and that part of their work includes on going and "work week training."
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