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Home > Medical > Would the cabin pressurization in the plane have any dire effects on my mum?
Would the cabin pressurization in the plane have any dire effects on my mum?
Flying - Medical
Monday, 13 February 2006 10:01

Hi Captain Lim,

My name is Michelle. I hope and pray that you are able to help me

I recently moved to Canada after meeting a man who lives here but I have one major problem. Is it safe for my mum to fly here?

In 1994, my mum (who is the most wonderful mum on earth) had an accident at work that resulted in her damaging her main nervous system in her neck. In 1996, they operated on her, placing pieces of pig bone in her neck to stabilize her neck so that she would be able to walk again.

Now, 10 years later, she is still able to walk. Her condition hasn*t deteriorated; she does use a wheel chair when out of the house. She is on morphine for the pain, but her spirit is alive and kicking,

Would the pressure of the cabin, the take off or the landing have any dire effects on her? I know you are not a doctor but I was hoping that you may have some advice or some information for me to try and find these things out.

I miss her so much. She desperately wants to come and see me here in my home. After everything she has been through, she deserves the best holiday of her life.

I know you are a very busy man but I hope you can help me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Michelle Douglas

Edmonton, Alberta,

Hi Michelle,

Yes, I am not a doctor and therefore, I am not qualified to advise you as to how pressurization would affect your mother medical condition.

Normally, an airline would require a doctor to certify your mum's medical condition before she flies. Policy may vary from airlines to airlines but there is a general rule for those who have problem with mobility in the aircraft.

You say that she is on a wheel chair when out of the house. Thus, she may be a passenger that would require assistance in an emergency and may therefore require medical clearance to fly. She may need a "Doctor's Certificate" or a "Letter of Fitness for Travel" by a doctor as her condition may aggravate during or because of the flight.

When a plane is pressurized (it starts the moment the doors are closed) you don't feel the pressures at all during the take off and landing. It is only when it starts to climb to the cruising altitude of say, 35,000 to 40,000 feet - (the cabin pressure will maintain air pressure equivalent to 8000 feet or less) - will some passengers experience some discomfort when trapped gasses within their bodies respond to changing pressures.

I am not familiar with the kind of medical problem that your mum has, but cabin pressurization do affect the human body in some problems such as blocked ears due to a cold, trapped gasses in sinuses, intestines, infected tooth or in collapsed lung (pneumothorax).

In my opinion, I think it may not be a problem for your mum to fly to Canada to visit you. However, since I am still not clear as to how it can affect a damaged nervous system on the neck, I would suggest that you consult a medical specialist for further advice regarding this.


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