Comparison of Pilot Medical History and Medications Found In Postmortem Specimens
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
Pagination or Media Count:
Pilots are required by FAA regulations to report all medications and medical conditions to the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine for review as to the overall suitability of the pilot for flight activities. Following a fatal aviation accident, specimens from deceased pilots are collected by local pathologists and sent to the Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory BSRL for toxicological analysis. The results of such tests are entered into the BSRL Forensic Case Management System. This database was searched to identify all pilots found positive for medications used to treat cardiovascular, psychological, or neurological conditions over the period 1 Jan 1993 through 31 Dec 2003. These medical conditions were selected because of their potential to rapidly incapacitate a pilot inflight. Some of the medications found may have been administered by health care workers as part of emergency medical treatment after the accident. The laboratory conducted toxicological evaluations on 4,143 pilots during the study period. Psychotropic drugs were found in 223 pilots 5, 14 of whom reported a psychological condition on their medical application. Only 1 of these 14 pilots reported the psychotropic medication found after the accident. Cardiovascular medications were found in 149 pilots 4, 69 of whom reported a cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular medications were reported by 29 of these 69 pilots. Neurological medications were found in 15 cases 0.4, only 1 of whom reported having a neurological condition. None of these 15 pilots had reported the neurological drugs on hisher medical application. Based on the drugs screened for by the laboratory, the authors successfully identified 93 of the medications reported by the pilots. Pilots involved in fatal accidents taking psychotropic or neurological medications rarely reported the medication or their underlying medical condition with the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification program, as required.
- Commercial and General Aviation
- Medicine and Medical Research