The Spring 2004 Edition of The Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin, contains an article titled Airman Medical History Errors that addresses the problems that can arise when an AME incorrectly transcribes an airman’s medical history from the medical application to the internet-based record which is sent to the FAA. Apparently some AME’s or their staff have been paraphrasing the history and in the process have transmitted the information inaccurately. Unfortunately for those airmen, the misinformation has caused them unnecessary problems.
In one instance, the airman disclosed on his medical application that he attended some type of training for a traffic stop, in lieu of convictions. However, the AME transmitted information about a “DUI” as his complete statement. In fact, the airman had not been convicted of a DUI. Needless to say, the airman was a bit unhappy with the AME when he received the subsequent inquiries from the FAA regarding his failure to report the DUI.
The article also discussed the problem that would be created if the reverse occurred and an airman-provided history of a DUI was changed to minimize the history. If the FAA subsequently discovered the DUI through the national database it checks for history of alcohol-related convictions on all applicants, the airman could be accused of falsification of the history when the database check reveals an alcohol incident that the FAA believes was not disclosed on the medical application.
The FAA’s solution to this problem is that “[a]ll entries by the airman on the FAA Form 8500-8 must be transcribed to the Internet-based record precisely as the airman wrote them. The AME has sufficient opportunity to request the airman to expand on or to modify this written history when reviewing the form with the airman.” If this rule is followed, this type of problem should be eliminated or at least greatly reduced.
Can you do anything to protect yourself from this situation? Absolutely! First off, print legibly on your medical application so the AME can read your writing and will then be able to accurately transcribe the information to the internet-based record. Second, always request a copy of your application before you leave the AME’s office. That way, you have immediate proof you can produce should this type of error ever occur and you receive the inevitable inquiries from the FAA.