Mar 132016
 March 13, 2016  Posted by  Healthcare, Non-U.S.

Daniel McDonald reports:

Pilots with mental health issues shouldn’t enjoy the same privacy rights as other people because of the threat posed to passenger safety, according to the final report into last year’s Germanwings crash that killed 150 people when a jet was deliberately flown into a French mountainside.

Authorities should re-examine how pilots are monitored and assessed, and consider forcing medical practitioners to share any concerns with airlines in instances where the safety of passengers is at risk, the BEA, France’s air accident investigator, said in the study published Sunday.

Read more on DailyNews.

Folks, take a breath. If you require mental health professionals to breach confidentiality, patients will be less likely to seek help and/or to disclose to their doctors. This is a terrible idea. It’s not a question of “enjoying privacy rights.” It’s a question of the importance of doctor/patient confidentiality and anything that weakens that will create greater danger, not greater safety.  Yes, many states in the U.S. have some version of a duty to warn, but when you delve into those laws, they are based on a duty to protect – to protect the patient from themselves  and to protect the intended victim, where there is a specific victim or plan.

If a pilot were to tell their psychiatrist that they had a specific plan to crash a plane-load of people into a mountain, then the patient needs protection from themselves. Doctors can do that (involuntarily holds) without going to the employer to tell them why.

Thankfully, Germany seems unwilling to loosen confidentiality/privacy laws.


  One Response to “Germanwings Crash Probe Questions Pilots’ Medical Privacy Rights”

  1. The first sentence in the above quote is preposterous and an insult to those individuals who seek mental health counseling.

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