Malaysia Airlines medical reporting system found wanting

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September 23, 2018
MH370 medical reports

The investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 recommended the airline change its medical reporting system after uncovering information it did not have about the health of air crew,  including captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah.

It also called on the company to review its reporting system for situations where flight and cabin crew may become “a risk factor for the safety of the aircraft operations”.

READ: Startling revelations point finger at MH370 captain.

Three of the five safety recommendations aimed at Malaysian Airlines were about health reporting.

They came after the investigative team found that medical records or reports of flight crew obtained from the airline’s medical center did not include records or reports from other medical facilities.

“In fact, the team has found a medical record of the PIC (pilot in Command) from another private medical center which was not recorded in the MAS Medical Centre,’’ the report said.

“The records from the MAS Medical Centre as well as the records from private clinics regularly visited by both the flight crew also seemed to be mainly records related to minor ailments such as coughs and colds and may not be reflective of the complete medical record of the individuals in question.”

The report recommended that the company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB),  ensure that flight crew report to flight operation any serious ailment that could cause medical incapacitation. This included therapy prescribed at MAB medical facilities as well as MAB-appointed panel clinics.

It also called on it to ensure medical records of the flight crew maintained by the MAB Medical Centre included records maintained by different panel clinics.

“The complete medical record of the individual flight crew shall show all visits to any panel clinics, the details of ailments and therapy prescribed,’’ it said.

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And while there were no findings of medical irregularities in terms of the flight crew, investigators recommended a review “of the process of the reporting system and the action flow when flight crew and cabin crew’s health may become a risk factor for the safety of the aircraft operations”.

Chief investigator Kok Soo Chon told reporters at the press conference marking the release of the report that the recommendations had nothing to do with the mental state of the pilot and did not indicate that the team suspected something.

“It is just that during the investigation we find that this is lacking in MAS (Malaysia Airlines)  and this is a good practice, good governance and we want MAS to practice it,” he said.

READ: Startling revelations demand a reopening of the MH370 investigation.