February DAN Report: A Sample of Recent Asia-Pacific Diving Incidents

To give you an idea of the range of cases DAN takes care of each month – here’s a sample of February’s cases.

To give you an idea of the range of cases DAN takes care of each month – here’s a sample of February’s cases.

Indonesia: A 35-year-old male in Sulawesi experienced middle ear barotrauma with possible inner ear involvement. DAN arranged an ENT exam for him in Kuala Lumpur. He was found to have a perforated eardrum and severe infection and is continuing to take antibiotics to clear this.

Australia: A 34-year-old diver in Victoria experienced pain in the shoulder and elbow and numbness in her fingers, following a dive to 45m. She was advised to present at the Alfred Hospital Hyperbaric Unit for recompression. The symptoms resolved after three recompression treatments.

Indonesia: A male diver in a remote part of Indonesia (between Borneo and West Papua) exhibited symptoms associated with neurological decompression illness (DCI).

Indonesia: The diver was putting her diver gear in her bag when a wave hit the dive boat causing her to fall forward landing on her arm and dislocating her elbow.  She received treatment in Sulawesi.

NOTE: This member was covered under DAN AP’s Preferred Plus Plan, which offers extended benefits to cover the likes of a fall on a boat. Under all other DAN AP Treatment Plans (Master and Preferred), the provision is for coverage for in-water incidents. 

Philippines: A 32-year-old female diver was admitted to hospital in Batangas with suspected DCI. The symptoms had cleared prior to admission and   the doctor diagnosed a possible mini-stroke rather than DCI and no recompression was given. She is currently undergoing further tests.

Indonesia: Sadly, a Member passed away in his sleep at a dive resort in Raja Ampat.

Solomon Islands: A diver exhibited symptoms of a skin DCI (rash on the torso) with a possible jellyfish sting causing additional symptom. Symptoms resolved with oxygen and member was advised to cease diving and seek a consultation with a diving doctor on return from her holiday.

Indonesia:  A diver developed symptoms of DCI following an out of air incident and a missed deco stop. She took two days off diving and the symptoms resolved then she resumed diving and the symptoms returned. Three days later she flew back to her home country. On arrival the member sought treatment for DCI and received two Table 5 treatments.  This member was lucky that the symptoms did not come back much worse (and more difficult to treat) following her return to diving. She should have called the DAN/DES Hotline as soon as the initial symptoms appeared rather than almost a week later.

REMINDER: All divers can call a DAN Hotline for advice, however, we can only co-ordinate an emergency evacuation, and treatment, and cover associated costs, for current members within the limits of their coverage.

If you are not yet a DAN AP Member, you can join via the DAN AP Website.

When accidents happen…

A medical guide to handling interactions with marine creatures

By Joseph Becker, M.D. and Paul Auerbach, M.D., M.S.

No matter how careful they are, sooner or later most divers are stung, bitten, punctured or poisoned by a marine animal. While a healthy respect for marine life and the environment is a good safety measure, accidents happen and serious afflictions may result.

Sharks are commonly thought of as the animal most likely to cause injury, but in truth, there are many other marine animals that are more likely to injure divers. Creatures such as barracuda, seals, otters and eels – while not normally aggressive – may sometimes react defensively and bite humans. Continue reading “When accidents happen…”

The SS President Coolidge: the world’s largest, most accessible wreck

Remnants of the Second World War can be found scattered throughout the Pacific, from the jungles and lagoons of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. One of the most famous (and largest) wrecks however, is found somewhere in between, in Vanuatu: the SS President Coolidge. Continue reading “The SS President Coolidge: the world’s largest, most accessible wreck”

Koh Ha: Thailand’s royal dive destination

Koh Ha is a tiny group of islands, not far from Koh Lanta on Thailand’s south west coast. The tall rocky limestone karst islands are very picturesque, like many of the island in this part of the world, similar to Koh Phi Phi and the so-called James Bond island in Phang Nga. But the real beauty of these islands are found underwater. Continue reading “Koh Ha: Thailand’s royal dive destination”

DAN Incident Insights: Quiet Rupture

A “mild” barotrauma leaves a diver with potentially permanent hearing loss. By John Lippmann, DAN AP Founder, Chairman, Director of Research

Diver’s Background. “James” (not his real name) is a 62 year-old Australian male. He is an experienced diver, logging more than 1500 dives over 33 years, mainly in the cooler waters of southern Australia. However, he has also done at least one overseas diving trip each year, mainly to tropical locations. Continue reading “DAN Incident Insights: Quiet Rupture”

Decompression Recovery

Almost half of those who are treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy have some neurological symptoms or pain for several days or weeks after hyperbaric therapy was completed. On average, 16 percent of injured divers will still have symptoms for up to three months after they have been treated.

DAN was contacted by a diver who had received eight hyperbaric treatments for decompression sickness six weeks ago. He was in good physical shape and an hour after diving he experienced numbness and tingling in his left arm, hand, leg and foot and felt very weak and fatigued. At the end of his treatments all his symptoms had alleviated and four days later he flew home without issue. However, he reported that in the last two weeks he had noticed a return of some of the tingling in his left arm and foot that comes and goes but doesn’t completely go away. He was wondering if this was a normal side effect of decompression illness and whether he should seek further recompression. Continue reading “Decompression Recovery”

Diving Nusa Penida’s colourful Crystal Bay – but beware the downcurrents

Nusa Penida’s Crystal Bay provides an animated visual feast of colourful marine life, but beware the currents that create the show.

As you might expect the waters of Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida are crystal clear and I don’t mean like glass, I mean like crystal, every colourful fish positively sparkling in Technicolor! Continue reading “Diving Nusa Penida’s colourful Crystal Bay – but beware the downcurrents”