May 2018 Roundup – a sample of recent Asia-Pacific Diving incidents

Suspected DCI, ear barotrauma… and plain old partying too hard the night before. Every month DAN Asia-Pacific receives calls from all over the region for a broad range of reasons. Here is a sample of calls received in May 2018.

Diver breathing oxygen

Every month DAN Asia-Pacific receives calls from all over the region for a broad range of reasons. Here is a sample of calls received in May 2018:

Indonesia: A 50-year-old male diver with almost 500 lifetime dives had completed three dives the previous day to depths of 26m, 27m and 31m with surface intervals between dives of 90 minutes and 150 minutes. His bottom time on all dives was 6O minutes. There were no notable issues on the dives, but one hour after the final dive of the day he experienced pain that he rated 5 out of 10 in his right shoulder, which continued through the night. He then completed a morning dive with no noticeable change in symptoms. After completing the dive, he was provided oxygen first aid via a non-rebreather mask at 3-4 litres per minute (lpm) and noticed some reduction in symptoms after 30 minutes. DAN advised that the flow rate needed to be increased to 10-15 lpm and for the diver to continue breathing oxygen and drink fluids. The diver underwent two Table 6 treatments and he was released to fly home a couple of days later.

Philippines: A 61-year-old male was admitted to hospital for DCI treatment after having completed three dives to 25.3m, 19.7m and 17.4m. His surface intervals were 60 minutes and 75 minutes between dives. One-hour post dive he felt dizzy and vomited, and a few minutes later felt tingling in both hands. He was given oxygen first aid and taken to a local hospital where nobody knew how to operate the chamber. He was transferred to another hospital where he received two Table 6 treatments and one Table 9 treatment and recovered well.

Indonesia: A 26-year-old female diver had completed four 50-minute pleasure dives in the one day all to a maximum depth of around 27m. She developed a blotchy rash and lymph swelling on her thighs. She was directed to the local emergency room, as the chamber was closed, where she breathed O₂ at 12 litres per minute for 4.5 hours. The rash disappeared and the swelling reduced although didn’t fully resolve. She felt okay otherwise. The next day she only had some slight body aches, which resolved with Nurofen.

Fiji: A 56-year-old male diver surfaced from a dive with chest pains and when the call came in to DAN he was on a speedboat about 30 minutes from the hospital. He was breathing O₂ and was fortunate that there were doctors and nurses on the boat with him to manage what the doctors suggested was more likely cardiac-related than diving-related.

Indonesia: A 31-year-old male diver with 700 lifetime dives called DAN with possible DCI. He had been drinking the previous night and completed one dive to 20m for 45 minutes. Immediately after the dive he experienced cramping in the stomach (described as churning) and nausea but no vomiting. He also described his fingers as being curled like a cramp (carpal spasm) and some tingling in his hands. He was advised to breathe O₂ for an hour, at which time he was re-assessed. He showed improvement so was advised to continue breathing O₂ for a further couple of hours. READ DAN AP’s Post on the Dangers of partying too hard the night before diving.

Indonesia: A 43-year-old male called the DAN DES hotline complaining of tingling in his left foot and hand following a 29m dive that lasted 54 minutes. He had completed two dives a day for the two preceding days. He breathed oxygen for a short time after the final dive but didn’t continue this treatment. DAN was notified the next day, and he was referred to the chamber for evaluation where he underwent two Table 6 treatments and his symptoms resolved.

Indonesia: A 47-year-old female diver called the DAN DES hotline with symptoms of vertigo and nausea, with vomiting, after diving in Tulamben, Bali. She was due to fly home that day but was referred to hospital to be evaluated for possible inner ear decompression sickness or barotrauma and underwent two Table 6 treatments. The diver made a full recovery after also having water cleared that was trapped behind a blockage in her ears.

Philippines: A diver experienced DCI-related symptoms following diving. He received one Table 6 treatment and one Table 5 treatment. He flew to Japan three days later and his symptoms returned. DAN provided advice to this non-member, however the diver refused to follow the advice to seek further medical assessment and possible treatment.

Indonesia: A 33-year-old male suffered an ear barotrauma in Raja Ampat following a rapid descent to chase a dropped mask. He surfaced with shortness of breath, brief loss of consciousness and pain in the left ear. Fortunately, his lungs were clear on examination.

Indonesia: A 26-year-old female diver in Komodo had completed five dives, three on the day of incident, all to around 25m with a 50-minute bottom time and two-hour surface intervals. One-hour post-dive the diver felt tenderness in her abdomen and noticed a mottled bruise like rash. She was provided oxygen first aid for one-hour and her symptoms started to resolve. She was advised to continue breathing oxygen for a further 3-4 hours. The next day her symptoms continued to resolve, and no new symptoms presented. She was advised to cease diving and to be evaluated for a possible PFO when she returned home to Australia.

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. It is also worth noting that the call to the hotline should come as soon as you notice symptoms following a dive. Delaying the call (and continuing to dive) can cause the symptoms to worsen and can make them harder to treat.

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

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