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February 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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In-Water Recompression? Our Readers React

from the February, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Undercurrent asked, in January, if you were exhibiting symptoms of decompression illness, but were at a remote location (as we often are nowadays), would you choose to endure a lengthy evacuation to a distant hyperbaric center with a serious delay in treatment, or would you opt for what might be considered risky in-water recompression as a speedier alternative?

Considering how far some Undercurrent readers are prepared to travel on their dive trips, we were surprised in that we had fewer responses to this question than we would normally expect. It's as if it's a taboo subject -- something that people would rather not think about.

However, Larry Bernier wrote from his dive shop, Dive! Dive! Dive! on Con Dao, a remote island off the coast of Vietnam. www.dive-condao.com

"This is a hot subject, and one I have very strong opinions about based on experience. We have a policy of requiring divers to have insurance to cover evacuation costs (currently around $45,000), but our airport is tiny, there are no lights and no night flights, so if you get bent here after 11:00 a.m., you will not be in a chamber in Thailand for [at least] 24 hours. Worst case, if the airport is closed due to strong winds for a day or two, the victim could be looking at days."

"I worried about this a lot, so went ahead and got myself qualified to administer the treatment."

"So far, one staff member with an undeserved inner ear hit and another customer with spreading joint pain have been treated, to 100 percent resolution. We use a Scubapro full-face mask with two ports that delivers both air and pure O2."

"Local divers, with no training, often dive air to 60 meters (200 feet) four times a day, around 20 minutes bottom time, and do the most rudimentary of deco stops, [resulting in] lots of those guys now in diapers, in wheelchairs, or confined to bed for life."

"We have undertaken public education programs for dive safety, and I still have to go out and treat them. Locals have no money for treatment, and we have saved a few lives."...


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