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June 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Could This Diverís Death Have Been Prevented?

from the June, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Melanie Stoddart from Manchester, England, was on an April dive trip in the Maldives and collapsed while diving off Vaavu Atoll, but because there was no immediate transport to the hospital, she died less than 12 hours later without being treated for decompression sickness.

Stoddard, 38, had booked the trip on the MV Sea Spirit through the British agency Scuba Tours Worldwide, and she had Divers Alert Network Europe as her insurer for dive medical emergencies. On April 3, on a dive at Vaavu Atoll, she "collapsed," according to the Daily Express newspaper. She was given oxygen and taken to the Alimatha Aquatic Resort, where a doctor said she needed to be transferred to a decompression chamber. But there was no transport available until, after a call to DAN Europe, Scuba Tours Worldwide sent for a speedboat from Bandos Island, more than 40 miles away. Stoddard reached the island at 8:20 p.m., and a doctor sedated her but she was not stable enough to be placed in a chamber. She was transferred again by boat six miles to the hospital in the Maldives capital of Male, where her head and chest were scanned. She died at 2:45 a.m. Tests found brain damage caused by nitrogen bubbles in her bloodstream, and during the inquest into her death in England, a pathologist testified that everything pointed to her having DCS. In his verdict, coroner Paul McCandless wrote, "It is possible if her condition had been diagnosed sooner that she would not have died when she did."...


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