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View Full Version : DUI and Medical


Westcoastdude
12-27-2017, 08:48 AM
Last Spring I made the stupid decision to drive while intoxicated and blew a .15. I reported everything to the FAA in which they came back and required me to get a substance evaluation by a psychiatrist. I did that and the psychiatrist stated alcohol abuse not dependence and recommend monitoring. Luckily, I’ve already been doing monitoring for the past 4 months and I’ve sent each urine test to the FAA. I also sent the FAA a liver function test to prove I do not have liver damage.

My file is now in OKC waiting for a decision...the HIMS AME has advised to me get a cog screen done which will cost me ~$2500... he said the FAA may label this as dependence even though the psychiatrist clearly stated it’s not and this cog screen could be our “saving grace”.

My medical expires in a few months. Im in my 20s and currently employed by a 121 carrier. Does anyone have any experience with this? Would the FAA make me go to treatment for a first time alcohol offense?

Treatment would mean months out of work, and I would be absolutely broke.


Otterbox
12-27-2017, 08:56 AM
Last Spring I made the stupid decision to drive while intoxicated and blew a .15. I reported everything to the FAA in which they came back and required me to get a substance evaluation by a psychiatrist. I did that and the psychiatrist stated alcohol abuse not dependence and recommend monitoring. Luckily, Iíve already been doing monitoring for the past 4 months and Iíve sent each urine test to the FAA. I also sent the FAA a liver function test to prove I do not have liver damage.

My file is now in OKC waiting for a decision...the HIMS AME has advised to me get a cog screen done which will cost me ~$2500... he said the FAA may label this as dependence even though the psychiatrist clearly stated itís not and this cog screen could be our ďsaving graceĒ.

My medical expires in a few months. Im in my 20s and currently employed by a 121 carrier. Does anyone have any experience with this? Would the FAA make me go to treatment for a first time alcohol offense?

Treatment would mean months out of work, and I would be absolutely broke.

Whatís your union saying? They may have some experience in this.

Every 121 pilot Iíve heard of had to go to treatment to keep/ get their medical back.

If I was you, Iíd plan on having to take the most expensive route to overcome this obstacle..

Westcoastdude
12-27-2017, 08:59 AM
Whatís your union saying? They may have some experience in this.

Every 121 pilot Iíve heard of had to go to treatment to keep/ get their medical back.

If I was you, Iíd plan on having to take the most expensive route to overcome this obstacle..

Union said ďwe donít know what the possibilities areĒ. I recieved a letter stating get a psychiatrist exam, find a HIMS AME to get onto monitoring and to apply for a SI.


tomgoodman
12-27-2017, 01:26 PM
Union said ďwe donít know what the possibilities areĒ. I recieved a letter stating get a psychiatrist exam, find a HIMS AME to get onto monitoring and to apply for a SI.

It sounds like you have done everything that was recommended, and must now wait patiently for the FAA decision. They may take their time, but our HIMS committee found them to be fair. If they require any more items, your willing compliance is very important. :)

Westcoastdude
12-27-2017, 02:25 PM
I found the underlying issue. The psychiatrist report stated ďpossible black outĒ and apparently thatís causing concern even though the psychiatrist specifically said I do not need treatment. Thoughts?

rickair7777
12-27-2017, 03:34 PM
I found the underlying issue. The psychiatrist report stated ďpossible black outĒ and apparently thatís causing concern even though the psychiatrist specifically said I do not need treatment. Thoughts?

Adverse life ramifications of alcohol use (such as DUI or blackout) hint at a problem, ie addiction. It could be an isolated case of abuse but the FAA probably wants to cover their butt in paper.

Westcoastdude
12-27-2017, 04:01 PM
Adverse life ramifications of alcohol use (such as DUI or blackout) hint at a problem, ie addiction. It could be an isolated case of abuse but the FAA probably wants to cover their butt in paper.

So what does this mean? HIMS?

tomgoodman
12-27-2017, 06:13 PM
So what does this mean? HIMS?

We are not qualified to say, but the FAA will let you know, probably by letter with a copy to your HIMS AME. In the meantime, you might find this website informative: Home (http://www.himsprogram.com/)

DrainTheSwamp
12-27-2017, 08:52 PM
Your Union is correct, find A HIMS AME and go through the hoops.

Westcoastdude
01-12-2018, 10:44 AM
My medical has been sent to DC for review. Is that common?

My medical expires in March. Is there a chance I might be SOL?

PerfInit
01-12-2018, 11:17 AM
Not a physician here, but I am aware that Any diagnosis of blackout or loss of consciousness is pretty serious in the eyes of the FAA Flight Surgeon. Perhaps there are other details surronding the incident, and I imagine you would prefer not to discuss them here. I agree with the other posters that you should consult with a HIMS AME.

tomgoodman
01-12-2018, 12:02 PM
My medical has been sent to DC for review. Is that common?

Yes, and itís a sign of progress because DC is where the final authority (FAA Chief Psychiatristís Office) is located.

My medical expires in March. Is there a chance I might be SOL?

Definitely not SOL. More likely, in my experience, would be a Special Issuance medical with conditions and follow-up exams.

Westcoastdude
01-12-2018, 01:42 PM
Not a physician here, but I am aware that Any diagnosis of blackout or loss of consciousness is pretty serious in the eyes of the FAA Flight Surgeon. Perhaps there are other details surronding the incident, and I imagine you would prefer not to discuss them here. I agree with the other posters that you should consult with a HIMS AME.

So Iíve been told. The report said ďpossible black outĒ but the overall diagnosis was alcohol abuse not dependency and monitoring was recommended.

Black out sums it up. Honestly if I didnít ďblackoutĒ I wouldnít have driven my car. There are details from the night that I donít remember.

Westcoastdude
01-12-2018, 01:42 PM
Yes, and itís a sign of progress because DC is where the final authority (FAA Chief Psychiatristís Office) is located.



Definitely not SOL. More likely, in my experience, would be a Special Issuance medical with conditions and follow-up exams.

Good to know thanks.

Westcoastdude
01-12-2018, 03:20 PM
If I canít get my medical reissued would I be covered under short and long term disability?

rickair7777
01-12-2018, 06:57 PM
If I can’t get my medical reissued would I be covered under short and long term disability?
You need to read the fineprint of your plan.

Often psychiatric issues are not covered, or have limited duration.

A DUI would presumably not be covered unless there was an underlying medical issue (ie addiction). If that's even covered.

MadmanX2
01-12-2018, 08:01 PM
Probably not SOL, but it will be expensive.

Vic5722
03-12-2018, 04:21 AM
My medical has been sent to DC for review. Is that common?

My medical expires in March. Is there a chance I might be SOL?

Ok I literally just completed this process a few days ago. Im have the SI but still need to continue monitoring and psych evals once a year for a few years. When your med is sent to DC that means they are going to evaluate you for abuse. From .1499 to .20 is the Alcohol abuse criteria. They will most likely soon send you a letter saying that "Due to your history of substance abuse...etc etc" They will require a HIMS and monitoring and more documentation. So get the HIMS now! Do everything that he or she wants you to do. Also if your 121 they should have a treatment program that will allow you to still be employed but taken off flight status until the program is done. Im not going to lie. This process will be extremely difficult. It has been the hardest and most trying time of my life. From beginning to end it was 24 months. It reminded me of dealing with the Vogons from Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

siuaviation
03-14-2018, 12:43 PM
Ok I literally just completed this process a few days ago. Im have the SI but still need to continue monitoring and psych evals once a year for a few years. When your med is sent to DC that means they are going to evaluate you for abuse. From .1499 to .20 is the Alcohol abuse criteria. They will most likely soon send you a letter saying that "Due to your history of substance abuse...etc etc" They will require a HIMS and monitoring and more documentation. So get the HIMS now! Do everything that he or she wants you to do. Also if your 121 they should have a treatment program that will allow you to still be employed but taken off flight status until the program is done. Im not going to lie. This process will be extremely difficult. It has been the hardest and most trying time of my life. From beginning to end it was 24 months. It reminded me of dealing with the Vogons from Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

I've also just completed this entire process. By completed, I mean received my Special Issuance medical last week. The entire process for me took 2.5 years. Definitely not an easy, or cheap, process but can be completed. If anyone has any questions please feel free to PM me. My next step is applying for my Canadian Temporary Resident Permit so I can enter Canada with the DUI on my record. Once I receive that, I'll be ready to return to the airlines.

Westcoastdude
03-15-2018, 05:16 AM
I got my SI a few weeks ago. Alcohol monitoring as well as annual psychiatric exams for two years. Iím glad the process is more or less over and I definitely learned a lesson.

rickair7777
03-15-2018, 07:28 AM
Not a physician here, but I am aware that Any diagnosis of blackout or loss of consciousness is pretty serious in the eyes of the FAA Flight Surgeon. Perhaps there are other details surronding the incident, and I imagine you would prefer not to discuss them here. I agree with the other posters that you should consult with a HIMS AME.

For clarity...

"Blackout" in the context of alcohol abuse is different from an unexplained or unpredictable loss of consciousness. The former is explained and predictable.

The later can easily get you grounded for years until a diagnosis is made or enough time has passed that the FAA assumes it's unlikely to happen again. I've also known folks with head injuries who were out for years, while the FAA took a wait and see approach.

JohnBurke
03-15-2018, 07:59 AM
Very true. There is a world of difference between a loss of consciousness, and an unexplained loss of consciousness.

Westcoastdude
03-15-2018, 07:16 PM
Black out in my case was described more so as a ďloss of controlĒ. I didnít just randomly fall over and pass out per say. More like details were fuzzy throughout the night.

SonicFlyer
03-15-2018, 07:45 PM
More like details were fuzzy throughout the night.I think that is fairly typical when one indulges in alcohol :o

Westcoastdude
03-17-2018, 07:42 PM
I think that is fairly typical when one indulges in alcohol :o

Haha fair. Fuzzy details donít sit well with the FAA either. It could be a cause for dependency. But if you have 10 shots of tequila and are able to function and remember everything, youíre labeled (rightfully so) as dependent since you display tolerance.

Westcoastdude
03-17-2018, 07:44 PM
I will probably remain sober for my entire career going forward. Not worth the risk... even a small incident can have a major impact on ones career.

phfly505
03-25-2018, 11:46 AM
I will probably remain sober for my entire career going forward. Not worth the risk... even a small incident can have a major impact on ones career.

Dude, congrats on getting your medical back. Do yourself a favor and remain sober for the rest of your life. If the FAA nails you with anything in your system, or makes you do an ETG test, you're done. They will hammer you into the ground.

Remember you just barely escaped a DUI, that will be in the system for a long time.

Vic5722
03-26-2018, 08:52 AM
Im honestly amazed how you received your SI so fast. My process was 2 years and brutal.

phfly505
03-30-2018, 06:36 AM
Im honestly amazed how you received your SI so fast. My process was 2 years and brutal.

He gets a DUI at .15 and he got his medical back in record time. I got nailed with depression from my fathers passing and a spinal injury that took out my leg. Fully rebuilt my body, eat healthy, exercise regularly, don't drink, and its taken over two and a half years and I still haven't gotten it back yet. Unfriggen believable.

Starscream
03-30-2018, 09:32 AM
I had a brain aneurysm the same day a guy at my airline got arrested at the airport for blowing 0.09 after a layover. Same exact day!

I got back on the line before he did, but not by much. I think we were months apart (2.5 years). Funny thing, I was good as New after about 6 weeks......

I lost almost everything (but Iím sure so did he).

rickair7777
03-30-2018, 11:01 AM
Whatever you might say about the FAA, they are not weighing guilt or innocence in medical decisions and processes, they are just looking at the medical issue and risk. Whether or not it's your fault that you had a brain aneurysm or got a DUI is not relevant to the certification issue.

That said, I do have a hard spot with HIMs being available only to those with addiction issues vice just bad judgement. In the event of any questions being raised about alcohol, the first words out of your mouth should be "I think I have a problem..."

SonicFlyer
03-30-2018, 10:04 PM
I had a brain aneurysm the same day a guy at my airline got arrested at the airport for blowing 0.09 after a layover. Same exact day!

I got back on the line before he did, but not by much. I think we were months apart (2.5 years). Funny thing, I was good as New after about 6 weeks......

I lost almost everything (but Iím sure so did he).

I think you are lucky to be alive.

Starscream
03-30-2018, 10:46 PM
I think you are lucky to be alive.

I always saw it as unlucky that it happened at all. Over the last 5 years I’ve had people suggest how I should ‘feel’ about the whole ordeal, but none of them went through what I went though. I was down to making preparations for homelessness.

And it’s all because an FAA consultant had to overrule another consultant’s recommendation for certification. Missed a ton of hiring at the majors and ended up broke. Sorry if I will forever be bitter about that experience. 5 years later and I still have the occasional nightmare about the ordeal.

SonicFlyer
03-31-2018, 09:06 AM
I always saw it as unlucky that it happened at all. Over the last 5 years Iíve had people suggest how I should Ďfeelí about the whole ordeal, but none of them went through what I went though. I was down to making preparations for homelessness.

And itís all because an FAA consultant had to overrule another consultantís recommendation for certification. Missed a ton of hiring at the majors and ended up broke. Sorry if I will forever be bitter about that experience. 5 years later and I still have the occasional nightmare about the ordeal.
Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit. Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital.

SOURCE:
https://www.bafound.org/about-brain-aneurysms/brain-aneurysm-basics/brain-aneurysm-statistics-and-facts/


I had a very close family member die about 20 years early because of one. Never had a chance to say goodbye, just collapsed and that was that.


In no way am I underplaying your plight, but things could have been worse, much worse.

Starscream
03-31-2018, 11:29 AM
Intimately familiar with the stats, thanks, and so sorry for your loss.

Still feel the way I do. This was a very emotionally and psychologically devastating time in my life. Woke up feeling like a failure most days that I just could not get a job in the real world and could only watch helplessly as the funds bled away. Maybe if I had been in a different line of work I could see it another way. . You and I will just always see it differently, I guess.

And my apologies for causing this thread drift. That all said, I do agree that anyone who has lost control should have a path back — whether it be the 0.15+ DUI or even getting in the cockpit under the influence. Very tough, though, that’s it got to be such and awfully expensive (and time consuming) road back.

Bahamasflyer
03-31-2018, 06:25 PM
Intimately familiar with the stats, thanks, and so sorry for your loss.

Still feel the way I do. This was a very emotionally and psychologically devastating time in my life. Woke up feeling like a failure most days that I just could not get a job in the real world and could only watch helplessly as the funds bled away. Maybe if I had been in a different line of work I could see it another way. . You and I will just always see it differently, I guess.

And my apologies for causing this thread drift. That all said, I do agree that anyone who has lost control should have a path back — whether it be the 0.15+ DUI or even getting in the cockpit under the influence. Very tough, though, that’s it got to be such and awfully expensive (and time consuming) road back.

Why didn't your airline's LTD plan cover you in your situation?? Isn't it cases like yours that its most designed to protect?

You have every right to still be angry over it

phfly505
04-02-2018, 05:15 AM
Intimately familiar with the stats, thanks, and so sorry for your loss.

Still feel the way I do. This was a very emotionally and psychologically devastating time in my life. Woke up feeling like a failure most days that I just could not get a job in the real world and could only watch helplessly as the funds bled away. Maybe if I had been in a different line of work I could see it another way. . You and I will just always see it differently, I guess.

And my apologies for causing this thread drift. That all said, I do agree that anyone who has lost control should have a path back ó whether it be the 0.15+ DUI or even getting in the cockpit under the influence. Very tough, though, thatís it got to be such and awfully expensive (and time consuming) road back.

They will never understand the frustration of dealing with the medical complications until they go through it themselves. I had multiple mis diagnosis that required further tests and so on. In the end I lost my home, savings and retirement in order to pay for everything. I'd love to go into details, however I'm at the end of path at 2.6 years and I don't want to make any waves..

2992set
04-08-2018, 03:06 PM
Hope some of you guys can help me out here.

currently going thru the HIMs process. had to resign from a new job since i was on IOE when this issue surfaced and couldn't renew my medical, I had to resign (They don't allow medical leaves while in training)..no DUI, just issues from the past came back to bite me...

It seems 2 years if the average time to get back in the air..so ****ty...

Does anyone have info on "Aftercare".. my AMEs nurse said its basically a combo of group and individual sessions about 3-4 times a month...and right now I got stepped down from IOP to regular out patient which is once a week..and I'm about to be done with that. My confusion is whats the difference between aftercare and regular outpatient since both is basically once a week group/individual sessions.

any insight thru this process would be much appreciated. not flying is horrible - i wouldn't wish this upon anyone



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