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April 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bad Mistakes Dead Divers Make: Part II

like pre-dive drug use or faking your medical exam

from the April, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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For many years, we've discussed why divers die, relying in large part on cases presented by the Divers Alert Network (DAN). It has discontinued its reporting, so we are turning to other sources, in this case, DAN's Asia-Pacific division in Australia and its Asia-Pacific Dive Fatality Reporting Project. We hope by explaining these cases, divers will understand better how they might contribute to their own demise, and exercise proper judgment throughout their diving career.

No Drinking or Drugs Before Diving

We know alcohol impairs, but it also masks symptoms of decompression sickness until your blood alcohol concentration level drops to zero percent. So the more partying one does, the greater the risk for injury as a hungover diver. A 44-year-old snorkeler was with three friends on a Great Barrier Reef liveaboard when he decided to down a seasickness pill with a shot of Jagermeister after breakfast. They then went snorkeling, and 100 feet from the boat, the man snorkeled back. He looked fine, but when he tried to board, he fell back into the water, landed face down and was unconscious. Life support techniques were applied for 17 minutes until the doctor contacted by phone advised stopping. Cause of death was aspiration pneumonitis, which essentially means that he choked on his own barf....

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