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Lawsuit: If doc had diagnosed color blindness, plaintiff wouldn’t have pursued aviation career

September 26th, 2011 by josh farley

A recent suit filed in Kitsap County Superior Court alleges a doctor failed to find an aspiring pilot was color blind after two eye examinations — leading the pilot to pursue a career in professional aviation. 

But in 2010, the lawsuit says the doctor did find he was color blind, stopping the plaintiff’s piloting career plans in their tracks.

At eye sight exams in 2005 and 2007, the aspiring pilot’s doctor gave him the  green light for an Federal Aviation Administration second class license, the lawsuit alleges. But in 2010, the doctor then diagnosed the plaintiff with hereditary color blindness and recommended only a third class license with “night vision and color signal restrictions.”

The plaintiff had “pursued a career in commercial aviation including the substantial expense of aviation flight school,” his lawyer alleges.

“Professional and/or commercial positions for a pilot with night vision and color signal restriction are precluded or substantially limited,” the lawyer wrote. “Had (the doctor) timely and correctly diagnosed (plaintiff’s) color blindness … (he) would not have pursued aviation school and training, to which he’d devoted considerable expense and time.”

The lawsuit was filed in August and the plaintiff is asking for arbitration. He is seeking “economic injury” damages for the costs of pursuing an aviation career after the alleged misdiagnoses in 2005 and 2007.

No response to the suit has yet been filed by the defendants.

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3 Responses to “Lawsuit: If doc had diagnosed color blindness, plaintiff wouldn’t have pursued aviation career”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    The PRACTICE of medicine. Something was missed. Maybe the color blindness didn’t show up until 2010. I don’t understand how the patient wouldn’t have known he was color blind – especially if it is genetic and if he didn’t know, how could the doctor?

  2. Dustin Says:

    Sharon, color blindness isn’t normally someone seeing black and white. Usually it is just one color disapearing when overlaid with another color. If you put red and brown or purple next to each other my dad can’t tell the difference. If you don’t tell him he would never know.
    Eye docs, have certain tools to try and find color blindness, but eye exams are mostly about truthfullness in the patient. When I was young I hated wearing glasses so I would memorize a low line on the little card on the eye exam thingie when the doctor wasn’t looking. If I remember right, the colorblindness test is some circles of one color overlaid by another color. If he’d been given the same test over and over again, he would know how to skirt it so he could fly. Then in 2010 the doc maybe gave him a different test??

    My guess; the patient had something to do with his own misdiagnosis and since optometry is more subjective than other medical fields, he won’t get much if anything. However you are correct, it is called practicing medicine for a reason:)

  3. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Dustin – thanks. Your comment about memorizing the bottom letters of the eye chart as a child reminds me there are adults in the world who cheat – not only themselves – but can/does cause injury to others.
    I once was involved with Search and Rescue and had to update Red Cross training periodically. On one such group testing, the instructor left the room and several people picked up their books in order to find the answers to the test questions. I was the only female and didn’t because I wanted to know what I didn’t know in order to learn it. I’d hate to be in the field with others depending on me and stand there and stutter instead of helping. Or, worse – do the wrong thing due to ignorance from cheating on a test and passing it.
    Some of the folks – volunteers – out there may be deserve the license. Testing should be more stringent.
    Thanks for the reminder. A child doing something is one thing…an adult deliberately cheating could cost others their lives or worse.

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