Tags: MidPoint | Arthur Caplan | mental health | screening | pilots air traffic control | fear | keep jobs

Medical Ethicist: More Screening, Less Stigma, for Pilots

By    |   Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 06:29 PM

Pilots, air traffic controllers and airline mechanics should have to undergo regular mental-health screenings — and they also need assurances that admitting to problems won't automatically destroy their careers, a medical ethicist told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"You want to have it for … people who basically have lots of lives in their hands," Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center's Department of Population Health, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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The German airline Lufthansa said on Tuesday that it knew about a "serious depressive episode" suffered in 2009 by Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing an airliner in the French Alps last week, killing all 150 people aboard.

But Lubitz's health improved and he was cleared to fly, said Lufthansa. Whether additional, mandatory pilot exams could have prevented the disaster  is now a subject of debate.

Caplan said commercial passenger transport jobs should combine required regular mental-health screenings with an environment that encourages self-reporting

In the latter case, he said, "The trick is this: You've got to convince people that they can seek help, be honest, let people know that they may have a problem or an addiction without getting fired.

"We have to set up programs that say you're going to get therapy, you're going into rehab, we're not going to pull your job, you might wind up on desk duty," said Caplan. "But if you make it a death penalty, they won't be honest."

Likewise, he said, "If you say doctors have to give all the [patient medical] records over to companies, so if they know something they've got to tell, I'll tell you what happens: People go to the doctor under phony names. People will go off the books, and they just won't use their insurance.

"If you don't have honest people willing to say, 'I need help', it's going to be hard to detect them," he said.

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Pilots, air traffic controllers and airline mechanics should have to undergo regular mental-health screenings - and they also need assurances that admitting to problems won't automatically destroy their careers, a medical ethicist told Newsmax TV on Tuesday. You want to...
Arthur Caplan, mental health, screening, pilots air traffic control, fear, keep jobs, help
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2015-29-31
Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 06:29 PM
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