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Deputy-Ombudsman criticises assessment of fitness of Utti paratroopers to jump
Doctors not necessarily familiar with special features of aerial jump activities
Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja sees flaws in the way the fitness of paratroopers to jump is assessed in the Utti Jaeger Regiment. The paratroopers are themselves responsible for their fitness to jump.
However, medical evaluation of fitness for this activity is poorly arranged. The health station has not had a doctor of its own, doctors have changed and shortcomings have been revealed in the expertise that some doctors possess with respect to the special features of military aerial jump activities.
A conscripts fitness to jump should have been examined when backaches persisted
A complaint was made to the Ombudsman by a conscript who believed that he had suffered a permanent back injury while doing his national service with the Jaeger Regiment in Utti.
Due to constant pains in his back, he had been to a nurse and three different doctors at the regiments health station over a period of four months. Only the third doctor sent him for an X-ray towards the end of his national service period.
The conscript was told the result of the X-ray examination, spondylolisthesis or a slipped disc, by a fourth doctor, who did not yet have authorisation to practise his profession independently. Without sending the conscript to an orthopaedist or even consulting one, the doctor deemed the patient fit to jump and did not set any restrictions in this respect.
The Deputy-Ombudsman finds that there would have been reason to explore the cause of the conscripts persistent back pain by means of an X-ray examination at an earlier date. After the X-ray finding, an orthopaedists opinion on fitness to jump should have been obtained. The special features of aerial jump activities should have been taken better into account in the consideration.
Paratroopers fail to jump only if they are forbidden to do so by a doctor."
The complainant criticised also the attitude to absences through illness. Numerous absences lead to termination of training, something that is reflected in the attitudes of the personnel. The complainant was put under pressure to undergo the Cooper Test, although a doctor had forbidden him to do so.