Flying fit: keeping aviation professionals in good health

Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) are doctors accredited to carry out tailored medical examinations required for airline personnel

Medcare provides aeromedical examination for aircraft personnel

Aviation professionals, from pilots to cabin crew and air traffic controllers, have a responsibility for thousands of lives throughout their careers and are subject to medical exams to ensure that they are at peak fitness levels.

Medcare Hospital and Medical Centres, the premium healthcare provider of Aster DM Healthcare now offers Aviation Medicine Services to patients in the UAE. For a market which boasts two of the largest international airlines in the world, the UAE counts a high number of employees who require a valid medical certificate while flying.

With patient-centric care at the forefront of their specialists’ minds, Medcare’s accredited physician, Dr Shagufta Zia, has a number of tips for those set to schedule their exam:

  • Understand the possible outcomes (three scenarios):

Firstly, the expected outcome for a physical examination is that the medical certificate will be issued, so long as the professional meets all of the standards.

A second possibility is that the AME issues a denial letter revoking current medical privileges. If the professional is able to present documentation confirming that the disqualifying medical condition has been resolved or is being controlled in a safe manner, a medical certificate may be reissued.

The third potential outcome is a deferral. This may cause a delay, but with the AME’s permission, and until the current medical certificate lapses, flying may continue.

  • Take your exam early

If a medical condition arises that requires additional information, obtaining that information may take a few days. Scheduling an early exam allows sufficient time to gather the required details before a medical certificate expires.

  • Bring glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids

As when taking a driving test, individuals who use glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids should bring them along to the examination which allows the examiner to authorize flying with a limitation on the medical certificate needed to pass the exam.

  • Rest up and eat well

Ahead of an exam, aviation professionals should avoid high-sugar meals, caffeine, and tobacco. Meals high in sugar may cause an erroneous result that may raise a flag for diabetes, caffeine increases patients’ heart rates and tobacco usage may result in temporary shortness of breath, with both increasing the chance of abnormalities showing on the ECG.

  • Contact an aviation medicine specialist with questions

AME’s are highly knowledgeable and often have many years of experience as medical professionals. Most questions, particularly if this is the first medical examination a patient has experienced, can be answered competently and simply during a brief consultation.

Medcare Medical Centre Jumeirah has a General Aviation Medical Examiner who has been accredited by the General Civil Aviation Authority and given the authority to perform annual medical examinations and to issue medical certificates if patients meet regulatory requirements allowing them to fly.

Dr Shagufta Zia, a family medicine specialist has been audited and approved to carry out aviation medical examinations and, along with all of Medcare’s team of specialists, is aware of the pressures faced by airline personnel and conducts all medical examinations with personalized care and in a time efficient manner.