Tantalizing Tidbit: Did the German Medical Profession Fail Germanwings Flight 9525?

There are still many questions surrounding the reason for the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps. Reports suggest co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had a history of depression and sought help from several doctors before the crash. By releasing more facts, grieving families and the public may be able to find some information that gives them a sense of solace. 

Was the Germanwings tragedy completely avoidable? Is the failure of the German medical profession a leading cause that led to the mass murder of 150 people aboard Flight 9525?

CBS reports: “A state prosecutor says a co-pilot with a history of depression who crashed a Germanwings airliner into the French Alps had reached out to dozens of doctors ahead of the disaster, a revelation that suggests Andreas Lubitz was seeking advice about an undisclosed ailment.”

And, that’s all that is said substantively about that subject. Indeed, it might be all that has been released (or leaked?) to the press so far. But, clearly something this important demands much more information be placed before the public. Was Lubitz desperately reaching out for help to stop himself from doing the unthinkable? Was he driven by psychological forces he could not overcome on his own? Was he suffering from some malady that he feared would cause him unbearable pain, sufficient to drive him to suicide? Why did not one single doctor, out of the dozens, undertake to figure out what was driving Lubitz to desperation? Were they even listening to him? What was he saying to those dozens of doctors?

As of now, it is unknown what the medical records might reveal. But what is known is that the public has a right to know what is in them. The otherwise important privilege of privacy in one’s medical records needs, in this case—because of the unique facts surrounding the horror of what Lubitz did—should be sufficient to find that for this deceased holder of the privilege, his actions waived it.

What did the doctors, or at least some of them, know? What did the airline know? What are the safeguards that need to be in place to make sure suicidal or homicidal pilots, regardless of how they became that way, are exposed before tragedy strikes again?

I know that I have raised more questions than answers. However, it is vital to the public interest in aviation safety, and the confidence that the traveling public must have in it, that the investigators get to the bottom of every issue, and promptly report their findings for all to see. If they do, then perhaps safety and confidence will be enhanced, and, of vital importance, grieving families will have something to hang onto to commence the process of closure.


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