I am planing on going through my first 1st class medical exam to see if there are any issues with my health before diving seriously onto this path.
I am looking through many doctors that are available in my area.
Is there a resource that pilots look to when choosing a doctor for their medical exam aside from standard resources where regular patients look into for reviews (e.g. google, WebMD, etc)?
I just wander whether there is a place where pilots leave feedback to other pilots letting them know not to attend this particular doctor, for instance, because he/she may be unprofessional or doing medical exams poorly and not giving proper advice when some health-adversity happens, etc.
If anyone knows a good doctor in Greater Detroit Area, I would appreciate it!
Thank you for your helpful insights and regards,
All you’re really looking for is an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). The FAA offers a search based on your area (https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/). While I understand your desire to find a “good one” they all administer the same exam and it’s not like you’re going to one for treatment. If you have some issues that you think may be of concern then I might visit a local airport or flight school and inquire but otherwise just fined one that’s convenient.
Thank you - sorry for not being clear, I am asking about AMEs specifically. I have used the locator and it appears that there are a lot of them in my area.
In the past, I had negative experience with regular doctors, so just wandered whether pilots have a resource they find recourse to when researching which doctor they should attend to (aside from questions of cost, distance, etc).
Perhaps I wasn’t being clear. Again you’re not going for treatment or care, it’s a simple exam which is administered with a certain amount of standardization. Again if you’re really concerned your best bet would be to visit a local flight school or FBO and ASK.
I understand that it is just an exam and they will all act accordingly. I just value “good” doctors in sense of giving proper and thoughtful advice in case something adverse happens.
Uncaring doctor will just not care and may even provide wrong advice to you.
One bad example that I had was with an eye doctor (who was not an AME) who told me when I was a child that I will never become a pilot because of my poor vision, which has improved to 20/20 with glasses. That has led me to a path of searching for things in life that never brought any fulfillment in my life. I know now, with help of good people like you, that just having glasses and not perfect vision - is not an end to a dream.
That’s why I intend to find a person who at least can provide thoughtful advice or just be silent when unsure about a condition and refer to someone who can advise about further steps with confidence.
Thank you, including @Adam, for all your advices - they are immeasurable!
Just wanted to share that your advice about contacting local flight schools to get opinions on “good” AMEs in the area - works!
I have found a ton of pilots on LinkedIn in Greater Detroit Area who have attended local flight school and already started receiving feedback.
Most of them point out to one or two of the same doctors out of many others that are available.
Just yesterday I did have a poor experience with my local AME, granted the physical is standardized and all are administered the same; the feeling that I received from place I elected to go to was awful. Even after the examine, I had several questions on how to overcome an obstacle with a prescription medication I have taken for over 10 years that was not allowed by the FAA. Only thing the AME could say was that the FAA will be in touch within 30 days. I asked for options, waivers, appeals, or special issuances and the reply I got back was the same. Not all doctors are the same, after the fee for the examine was paid, the AME and his staff could careless.
The AME might simply have not been able to help you. Some medicines are disallowed, period. In these cases, there are no such things as options, waivers or appeals. You could consult another AME, but your existing AME might have been unhelpful because there was simply nothing that they could do.
As Chris said there’s really not much an AME can do if your physician prescribed a banned medication. The AME’s job is to administer the exam, period. Now if you made an appt with the AME for a consultation regarding your prescription that’s one thing. But if you showed up for a First Class medical and then mentioned “oh btw I’m taking XYZ”, he’s already started the process. The FAA publishes a list of banned medications. If you didn’t do your research, see the medication is banned and ask your physician if an alternate is available, frankly that’s on you.
Zach, I understand your question. Some AME’s are more willing and understanding of certain conditions, it is like anything else in the medical field, things can be interpreted in many ways and you don’t want a mistake made that might hinder your passing of the medical. I would definitely ask other pilots about their AME and then if there is a concern you might have about a possible hiccup with your health, I would make an appt for a consultation with that AME before the actual First Class Medical exam. If there are any questions or problems then you can be prepared with the proper paperwork, tests, etc before the actual Medical. Might save time, and heartache. Some conditions are covered under CACI and the worksheets are available online to see if you qualify. Good luck with your future.