The case of the fainting pilot

January 17, 2014

Warren Silberman

Warren Silberman

  • Former Manager, FAA Aerospace Medical Certification 
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Expert in Aerospace/Preventive Medicine 
  • Pilot since 1986

I am going to tell you the story of one of our members to make a point about a particular medical problem. As the once very popular TV show Dragnet would say, I've changed the name to protect the innocent. Joe Snuffy is a 60-year-old third-class airman who just so happens to be the owner of a P-51 Mustang with the name The Tasmanian. Snuffy was out at his hangar with the rest of his buddies one Saturday morning discussing the morning flight when he got up to go to the bathroom. A bit of history: Snuffy was quite ill the night before. He had been out of town at a meeting of his oil company held at a nationally known hotel. He had eaten lunch at the buffet that the hotel offers daily and flew home commercially. That night he awoke with severe abdominal cramps and spent the night having profuse diarrhea. He must have gone 10 times. His flying buddies did not know this. 

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