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Germanwings crash: New rules needed for pilot health issues

Arnaud Desjardin, deputy head of the research department of BEA, the French Air Accident Research Agency, delivered a speech during a press confere...


Arnaud Desjardin, deputy head of the research department of BEA, the French Air Accident Research Agency, delivered a speech during a press conference at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, Sunday, March 13, 2016 German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was treated for depression in the past, and the investigation revealed that he dozens of physicians in the weeks before he intentionally deliberate a radiator in the French Alps crashed on March 24, 2015, killing all 150 people aboard. (AP Photo / Christophe Ena)

The recommendations are delicate. Researchers from the French BEA air accident agency acknowledged yesterday that it is not easy to balance right patient medical privacy and public safety, and said she did not want to stigmatize people suffering depression.

But it maintains that the aviation authorities around the world have clearer rules, after German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cab and hit Flight 9525 in an Alpine mountain March 24 2015. All 150 people on board is dead.

Lubitz suffer from depression in the past, but governments and airline later deemed adapt to fly. What they do not know is that returned his mental problems.

The final collapse report released by the BEA Sunday are how bad things have become in cold detail.

Lubitz consulted dozens of doctors over alleged vision problems and insomnia in the months that led to the accident. A doctor prescribed antidepressants, including one whose effects may include selfmoordneigings. Another doctor Lubitz refers to a psychiatric clinic two weeks before the accident, suspected a potential “psychotic episode,” says Arnaud Desjardin, leader of the BEA’s German studies.

Lubitz reported any of this to German or older Lufthansa. Also, the doctors, with reference to a strict medical secrecy laws of Germany.

The BEA says must change these rules.

Among a list of 10 safety recommendations of international, European and German aviation authority BEA said they need new rules require that medical workers to alert authorities if mental health pilot may threaten public safety.

The set more rules like those in the US and some other countries, which use a number of antidepressant drugs under medical supervision, to encourage pilots to seek treatment and to come forward about depression.

Germany confidentiality laws prevent sensitive personal information broadly shared, but doctors allowed to suspend the patient’s privacy if they believe there is a real danger to the safety of the person or others.

Desjardin said German doctors fear their jobs or potential imprisonment if they lose unnecessary to report a problem to the authorities. Doctors who Lubitz treated for depression and mental illness also refused to talk to the BEA investigators, â referring to the medical privacy ?? “And complicates the investigation.

Johann Reuss German air accident investigation agency, the Associated Press” there is no reason to change the law. “Reuss says the privacy rules loose” it might not be easy “and suggested that authorities focus instead on giving physicians checklists to prevent similar scenario with pilots.

BEA safety advice includes special insurance options and peer support groups for workers aviation concern about the loss of a job that relieve pilots are facing psychological problems.

although Germany’s medical privacy laws stricter than those in the US, it is difficult to an American doctor thinks reporting mental care about a pilot of an airline or the FAA without the consent of his patient, says John GADZINSKI, a veteran American pilot and safety consultant.

the underlying problem is that the society does not figured out how to deal with mental health in a way to protect both the patient and society, GADZINSKI told the AP from his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“I think that the German accident is more of a symptom as the main issue,” he said. “The big problem is how we treat mental health.”

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said in a statement, “Pilots welcome recommendations to counterpart support program to introduce pilots the airline industry. … By encouraging people with mental problems to seek help, they provide treatment and ensure that they are not financially suffer if they come forward, we avoid driven underground these problems. “

the BEA also recommended more frequent, deeper monitoring of pilots psychological problems in the past have â every three months instead of every year ?? “For example. Lubitz appear relapse to begin about four months before the accident.

The agency said the plane cabin safety rules should not be changed, says hijacking remains a greater threat than pilot suicide. Current cockpits are equipped with a code system for the type of hijackings that took place to appear on September 11, 2001, in the United States, where the planes full of passengers had turned into weapons.

After the German accident, requires a number of airlines at least two people in the cabin at any given time.

Lufthansa has taken back the new safety recommendations. Since the accident, the airline replaced its brand German named Eurowings.

on the day of the flight, Lubitz rehearsed a similar accident a few hours earlier. Then half an hour after flight 9525 from Barcelona, ​​clipped. Patrick Sondenheimer hand over the controls to Lubitz and to the toilet. Lubitz quickly closed the cabin and put the plane into a rapid dive to a mountain near the French town of Le Vernet, where a stone memorial to the victims of their memory points.

Traces of anti-depressant drug citalopram and mirtazapine were found in debris Lubitz, as well as the sleeping medication zopiclone, says the BEA report. The US National Library of Medicine notes on its subscription for Citalopram that children and young adults who take the drug himself to be.

Lubitz was 27 when he crashed the plane.

The BEA investigation is separate from a homicide investigation to be decided by the French prosecutors seeking ultimate criminal responsibility. Lufthansa expressly disclaims any such offense, but the family of the deceased also refer to a string of people they say the alarm was raised and stopped Lubitz, goes back to the days when he trained as a pilot in 2008.

Families of German victims met BEA investigators Saturday, but many were disappointed in the statement.

“Some of the family members felt as though this was BEA representatives â Lubitz lawyers ??” to make excuses why German no action did not know what they knew, “Robert Tansill Oliver, whose son died in the accident, has the AP.

” How is it possible German would be a crazy man makes a flying plane? He was mentally unbalanced, greatly unbalanced, “said Oliver.


Geir Moulson reported from Berlin. Joan Lowy in Washington, and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.