Flying and medicine: mutual lessons

Balakrishnan R Nair
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02242.x
Published online: 1 December 2008

It is said the medical profession should learn from the aviation industry, which has a much better safety record. This is possibly because pilots get a mandatory 8 hours’ sleep. They also have to rest between shifts, for longer than the hours worked. Pilots do everything in duplicate to ensure accuracy. Most importantly, the pilots know that if their passengers are going to die, they are going to die too. So, I think it is high time that medicine looks into emulating the aviation industry.

  • Balakrishnan R Nair

  • John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW.



This article was written in the airport lounge while waiting for a flight that was delayed due to “technical reasons”. To research this article, I had to travel several thousand miles in business class from Sydney to Mumbai and back.

Competing interests:

I have a platinum frequent flyer card.


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