interesting case of a potential HIMS alcohol/sub abuse relapse

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by lbfjrmd, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    I got the following from a major airline:

    Dr Fowler,
    I have a HIMS question for you. As you may remember, I used to be the HIMS Committee Chairman at my airline, but when I transitioned to Chief Pilot I passed those duties to someone else.

    Recently, the new HIMS rep came to me concerning an individual who, several years ago, self-disclosed an alcohol problem and entered the HIMS Program through our company. This pilot went through a 30 day out-patient treatment, obtained a peer sponsor, completed 90-in-90 and received his Special Issuance FAA Medical through an AME near his home.

    After 2 or 3 years he was released by his AME from regular monitoring and now, after a new marriage to a Vietnamese national, has relapsed and was observed by the current HIMS rep in public consuming alcohol, though not apparently drunk. He confessed this as a practice and that his new wife does not like his drinking (indicating that he likely gets drunk).

    This pilot self-disclosed and so was never "officially" diagnosed as alcohol-dependent. Still, he understood that maintaining long-term sobriety was a condition required by the HIMS Program. My airline does not have a contract with HIMS graduates that would force this pilot back into HIMS as a condition of employment, but I'm certain after this that we will see that happen.

    From an HIMS-AME perspective, what is the process for handling a relapse after release from regular monitoring and the requirement for a Special Issuance Medical? The pilot has been told by our Union HIMS rep to contact his AME, but we have no proof that he has done that. What would you counsel in that respect? The guy has a problem; he knew it before; he knows it now. Anything legal we might need to know?

    Thanks!

    my initial response:

    1st ... it's the airline's responsibility to immediately ground a pilot that is suspect (ie alcohol) and report same to the FAA. It will then be up to the FAA to take action. A better route would be for the pilot to self report and seek help from the company and the FAA.

    This disease is one of chronicity ... and relapses. Major life changes are ripe for such. Dr. C's comments would be appreciated too.
     
  2. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If the HIMS AME sponsor, gets that observation in writing, the FAA has the diagnosis of relapse and the HIMS AME sponsor has to take the pilot down. The legal situation is much less clear if the person observing same does not commit to a document, and turns into a he-said-she-said. But the HIMS union rep SHOULD know that on behalf of all pilots currently flying in HIMS, he needs to be stopped. If you have a documentable relationship to the airline, and the Chief pilot has made this observation, AND you are the sponsor, then you have to act.

    The one HIMS airman that I took down (Painful, but I did it) - the revoke was issused within 16 hours.

    Then it's all up to EAP. It would appear that Dr. Berry's observation that the relapse rate is near 7% is right on target. It's part of HIMS and we all have an obligation to NOT have an inflight situation develop.
     
  3. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    thanks Bruce. I am not the airman's HIMS AME. His previous HIMS SI is now in the recent past as he fulfilled the requirements during its issuance. I concur with and appreciate your response.
     
  4. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Jebus, so the dude was "seen in public" drinking but not even drunk, holy cow batman!! Call the national guard!
     
  5. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    yup! once a HIMS airman ... no drugs alcohol silly weed etc .. for as long as u seek a med certificate to fly
     
  6. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup. Total abstinence for the rest of one's career. That's the price of:
    (1) Alcoholism
    (2) Second chance
    (3) Privilege to be behind the locked door.

    And the pilots are grateful that they are not just fired, as they were in the 70s and early 80s.
     
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  7. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I think there is a huge change in police/DUIs from the 70s to now, it's getting pretty predatory and for profit from what I've seen.

    Takes more then some tactical dressed John Wayne giving some one a DUI for me to believe they are actually a alcoholic.
     
  8. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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    Takes more than that for the evaluator as well.
     
  9. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    According to the OP the alcoholism was self disclosed.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well that just means he's a idiot.


    Seems from my reading on here, if you get a "DUI", and don't confess and repent to the FAA that you're a "drunk" you're hosed.

    I've know folks who were not drunk, blew under the ever lowering legal limit, and still got charged. If you don't have the money, to buy enough justice, well now you're a drunk driver.
     
  11. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dude already got his second chance. Not going to get a third.
     
  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    The "ever lowering limit" for alcohol behind the wheel of a car will eventually hit the same as the limit for airplanes, eight hours or you don't turn a car key.

    And that may not be such a bad thing.

    It's essentially there now for working pilots. Anything less, you're running a risk of a massive expense and your livelihood.

    Beer is wonderful stuff, but you have to be smart. The standard has been moving away from "don't drive drunk" to "don't drive intoxicated" to "don't drive with alcohol in your system at all" for a long time now.

    Anyone who missed that, should note it and pay attention, and decide accordingly as to what they want to do in life.
     
  13. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Anybody else find the sentence about him remarrying a Vietnamese wife a little awkward? Doesn't seem relevant to include nationality. The sentence sets up the one that reports that the wife doesn't like the drinking, but who cares if she's Vietnamese?
     
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  14. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    There seems to be a small subset of creepy middle aged pilots who marry very young women from Southeast Asia. I'm not sure how it's relevant either but perhaps was included to give context.
     
  15. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So I am a creepy middle aged pilot..???

    And yes, I thought that comment about the wifes nationality did not add anything to the story, but it is in there so that is that.
     
  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    What context? With numerous of dad's Navy buddies having done similar, albeit at a much younger age, I don't get it.

    Do know that marrying into a Filipino family is a lot bigger deal than we gringos think of for marriage. You're marrying the entire family, for sure!

    But we do love keeping in touch with dad's old buddies. Dinner at any of their houses is an EVENT not to be missed. The food! Mmmm. And the crazy. Always crazy. One guy and his wife have a huge hot tub and the hilarity of cramming 10 or more people into it to "make soup!" as he jokes about it, is downright comedy gold. Joining everyone in the tub at his place is not optional. LOL!

    Never seen it have a damned thing to do with alcohol though. Awkward.
     
  17. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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    Gimme a San Miguel and a Filipina any time.
     
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  18. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude

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    Sac Arrow?
     
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  19. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I agree totally awkward... without pictures that is :)
     
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  20. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Line Up and Wait

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    he can have a 3rd chance ... it will be more onerous though!
     
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  21. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Creepy: If you're 50+ and your wife is <20, then yes, there's a good chance.
     
  22. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That's not creepy, that's smart, well as long as she's over 18, real world over 21, not fun having to sneak your woman into a bar ;)

    Only folks who look down on that are past their prime women, and the men still married to them.
     
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  23. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled

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    It's going to be interesting to see how autonomous cars play into this equation.
     
  24. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, there is almost 18 years difference in our age, and believe me, I pay for it. There is also 12 inches difference in our height. I have seen some people looking at us rather strangely..:lol::lol::lol:

    And yes, I had to learn the language so I could ask her mother for her hand in marriage.

    As Denverpilot said, you don't marry the girl, you marry the entire family. I pay for my MIL diabetes medicines plus paying for I think 3 nieces to finish their nursing degrees.
     
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  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In effect, it's there in practice now. There's no "safe" BAC just about everywhere. The .08% BAC is just the per se limit where they don't have to show evidence of intoxication, you're presumed impaired at that point.
     
  26. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    So if I'm over .08 but show no signs of being "drunk" based on logic I should be good to go right... Oh yeah, not how that scam works.
     
  27. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    No. the way it works is if you're over .08 they don't have to prove impairment. You can be convicted at less than .08 if impairment can be proved.
     
  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    He was arguing the other direction. Any alcohol can be deemed "unsafe" by any lawyer. .08 just means you did their job for them.
     
  29. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    Wow. I couldn't even find a Nordic girl that tall! Yours must really be a statistical outlier.

    :)o_O
     
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  30. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Hej, raring! Jag har en tolv tums *****.
     
  31. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    I'm more concerned about folks who leap to the defense of those who operate deadly machinery while impaired.
     
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  32. Swampfox201

    Swampfox201 Line Up and Wait

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    Perhaps if you had a loved one killed or seriously injured by a drunk driver you would have a different perspective.

    Wonder how high this guy tested?
    http://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/...-drunk-driver-near-gallup-hw-566-dui/4299092/


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  33. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah the Vietnamese comment was :confused:.

    I don't drink so it is easy for me to say just don't do it but I try not to tell other people how to live their lives unless it impacts others. Decisions do have consequences and looks like this guy is going to be facing some tough ones.
     
  34. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I don't care, and you're off topic.

    I'm talking about people who are not showing any signs of impairment, other than what some box says, or the folks who blow under the ever lowering limit, don't show any signs and still somehow get charged.

    BTW, coffins are a cowards soapbox

    I'm concerned with folks who jump on the lynch mob of for profit policing.

    And it's innocent until proven guilty, at least in the country where I live.
     
  35. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Not in Administrative Court with the FAA, it's not!
     
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  36. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    When he returned to flying he knew that he had to maintain his sobriety and not drink anything alcoholic. This was the agreement.as Doctor bruce noted, the airlines were not understanding until they realized many competent pilots were being fired.( costly) They then decided to try and save these peoples careers provided they seek help and stop drinking. Many , many pilots were able to return to work after a lengthy recovery time, often times over a year. Some go back to drinking and they usually are fired per the agreement. This still goes on and it is handled case by case. Excellent program. This is also used by major corporations to try and retain valuable employees who have an addiction to booze or drugs. For the last 25 years , it's been very clear that driving drunk is a serious problem and all states issue constant warnings not to do it. The U.S. Is very understanding compared to other country's . Pretty dumb to drive drunk ! much less fly!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  37. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Which doesn't make it right
     
  38. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    Jag tänker du menar cm...
     
  39. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Never said it did, but those are the rules. It's their bat, their ball and their field. :( We all agreed to play by the rules. Don't like their rules, ain't nobody making you play the game.
     
  40. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter PoA Supporter

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    This. And when someone is getting a second chance the rules are stricter. They agreed to it. They could have been out on the street.