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I wanted to start with “Dear fellow aviators” but the reality is that it is proving very difficult for me to get my medicals sorted in order to start my PPL training. I want to start flying purely for a hobby and joined Avcom a couple of months back. I’m hoping to get some advice for the issues I’m experiencing and apologize in advance for the long posting – I'm merely trying to list all of the facts.
I went for my medical exam sometime towards the end of September. The aviation medical examiner was referred to me by the flight school I intend on using for my training. The doctor pointed out that I may have an issue because of a melanoma I had two years back and explained some sort of protocol I had to follow – this included CT/MRI Scans/Lab tests (ALP & LDH). I contacted the dermatologist who identified my melanoma and whom I see on a 6 monthly basis following a mole mapping performed and she wrote a letter in support of my application stating that “CT scan/MRI/PET Scan was not indicated in this early melanoma and ALP and LDH are not specific markers” together will a lot of other information on my history with the Melanoma – it was surgically removed by another specialist doctor, I see the dermatologist every 6 months for follow ups and the melanoma was luckily detected very early. I then provided this letter of support to the aviation doctor and off goes my application to the CAA. I then purchase a David Clarke head-set in anticipation of my training to start soon!
In the middle of October, I receive a letter from the CAA stating that the Aviation Medicine Department did a complete review of the available medical evidence supplied to the medical assessors and that I have been classified as Medically Temporarily Unfit due to the use of anti-depressant medication I declared on my forms. They require a detailed report from a psychologist and a psychiatrist. This was quite disappointing as I didn’t know that medicine my GP prescribed 3 years back could in any way be a problem for my new hobby I want to pursue. In my view the anti-depressant meds I am on are not hard-core and help me cope with some work stress and I've never had any side effects. Luckily the Melanoma isn’t an issue since their letter didn’t state anything about it.
I then proceed to obtain a psychologist report only, since I’ve never been to a psychiatrist and submit that to the CAA via e-mail. Following an e-mail back & forth because I haven’t submitted the psychiatrist report, the CAA doctor says that my psychologist report will be presented at the next panel meeting in November. When I follow up after the monthly panel meeting, I find out my report wasn’t presented since I did not comply with both reports requested – should have just complied...I know!
I then manage to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. My evaluation goes well and when leaving her consulting rooms, the psychiatrists says she hopes to never see me again. I receive the report a couple of days later and submit it to the CAA doctor via e-mail for the next panel meeting in December. The CAA doctor then replies that the only outstanding report is the ophthalmologist report. What ophthalmologist report??? There was no request for such a report on the letter they sent me in October. The CAA doctor explains that this is normal protocol for someone who had Lasik surgery. I then contact my aviation doctor to confirm and he says that technically I shouldn’t require a report from an ophthalmologist since I had my Lasik surgery 14 years ago…but it is better to just comply. I then go to see an ophthalmologist, get a report and submit it just in time for the December panel meeting. I can't wait to start flying in January!
I just received feedback from the CAA stating that I remain Medically Temporarily Unfit due to: 1) not having complied with the melanoma protocol and not submitting all the radiology and lab reports and 2) the anti-depressant medication I’m on is not compatible with aviation duties. I have to change my medication to something else, and when I’m stable with no side-effects, get another psychologist report stating I’m fine.
This whole process seems wrong in so many ways. The dermatologist clearly stated in her letter that the Radiology and Lab tests they require will not be of any use. Also, if the anti-depressant meds I am on are not compatible with aviation duties, why wasn’t I told that before the CAA requested me to obtain reports from a psychologist and psychiatrist?
Sorry again for the long post but any advice would be appreciated.
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