Miami supervisory TSA officers shine in handling medical emergency

Friday, January 19, 2024
Miami International Airport Supervisory TSA Officers Jermaine Harris and Javon Denson. (TSA Miami photo)

The bustling atmosphere at Miami International Airport took an unexpected turn when a passenger fell and injured her head while having a seizure at the checkpoint. The incident in the front of the checkpoint led to quick thinking and calm execution by TSA Miami officers.

Supervisory Officer Cynthia Ortuno demonstrated leadership and a commitment to passenger safety when she reported the medical emergency to TSA Miami leaders seconds after the passenger fell to the ground.  

Together, Supervisory Officers Javon Denson and Jermaine Harris skillfully navigated the situation, safely positioning the passenger on her side to prevent choking. They made sure other passengers were relocated from the immediate area and lanes were efficiently opened – all while providing first-rate care to the injured woman.

Denson swiftly sprang into action, dialing the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department to respond to the emergency near the divesting tables. In a moment of heroism, Harris applied pressure to a wound on the back of the passenger's head, controlling her severe bleeding until emergency responders arrived.

“When you hear your supervisor saying, ‘Help! Help!,’ those are the moments where the safety of your officers and others becomes your main focus,” said Harris.

The crisis response reached its peak when emergency responders arrived and gave first aid to the distressed passenger, who was slated to fly to Lima, Peru.

“My main goal was to make sure the passenger got medical treatment as quickly as possible,” Denson said. “There was no time to hesitate or freeze.”

The Miami supervisors not only helped a passenger in distress, but averted a potentially severe impact on TSA’s security operations while maintaining the seamless continuity of the screening process.

“The incident is a testament to the effectiveness of well-trained and poised security personnel facing the unexpected,” said Miami Federal Security Director Stephen Taber. “Newly promoted Supervisory Officers Denson and Harris not only exemplified exceptional teamwork but also displayed composure in the face of a life-threatening situation, underscoring the unwavering dedication and professionalism of Team Miami.”

By Laritza Puentes, TSA Miami and Mike Frandsen, TSA Strategic Communications and Public Affairs