Aviation medicine also known as Flight medicine or Aerospace medicine, is a preventive or occupational medicine in which the patients/subjects are pilots, aircrews, or persons involved in flight e.g cabin crew and passengers.
The specialty strives to treat or prevent conditions to which aircrews are particularly susceptible, applies medical knowledge to the human factors in aviation and is thus a critical component of aviation safety. A military practitioner of aviation medicine may be called a flight surgeon and a civilian practitioner is an aviation medical physician examiner.
Every factor contributing to a safe flight has a failure rate. The crew of an aircraft is no different. Aviation medicine aims to keep this rate in the humans involved equal to or below a specified risk level. This standard of risk is also applied to airframe, avionics and systems associated with flights.
AeroMedical examinations aim at screening for elevation in risk of sudden incapacitation, such as a tendency towards myocardial infarction (heart attacks), epilepsy or the presence of metabolic conditions diabetes, etc. which may lead to hazardous condition at altitude.
The goal of the AeroMedical Examination is to protect the life and health of pilots and passengers by making reasonable medical assurance that individual is fit to fly. Other screened conditions such as colour blindness can prevent a person from flying because of an inability to perform a function that is necessary. In this case to tell green from red.
These specialized medical exams consist of physical examinations performed by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) or a military Flight Surgeon, doctors trained to screen potential aircrew for identifiable medical conditions that could lead to problems while performing airborne duties. In addition, this unique population of aircrews is a high-risk group for several diseases and harmful conditions due to irregular work shifts with irregular sleeping and irregular meals (usually carbonated drinks and high energy snacks) and work-related stress.