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July 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 29, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Hyperbaric Chambers Are Also Good for Amputated Penises. A 22-year-old man in Dallas, TX, cut off his penis with a knife (why, we can only surmise), then sought treatment three hours later at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After sewing the penis back on, using vein grafts, surgeons gave the patient 10 milligrams daily of Cialis, and several days of chamber treatment. The guy can urinate normally again, but was still waiting on a return of sensation in his private parts.

Chivalry or Chauvinism? We received a lot of reader comments to help us put together our story in the May issue "Are Some Male Divers Too 'Helpful?'" Ken Kurtis, owner of Reef Seekers dive shop in Beverly Hills, CA, sent us this note from his Bonaire group dive trip in May. "I'm standing on the dock at Buddy Dive, waiting to load up for the 8:10 a.m. boat. Among the 16 divers is a husband/wife team, and all I hear is her saying, 'I don't need any help. I can put it on the boat myself.' And he simply ignores her and grabs her bag. She goes, 'Really . . . I . . . can . . . do . . . it . . . myself. Or not.' So I walk over and say to her, 'There's this article in this month's Undercurrent that I think you should read because it describes exactly what just happened here.' She laughed. I told him about it later too, and he basically said, 'I never thought of it that way. I thought I was just being chivalrous. I'll file it away way.' So maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks."

Forget the Poor Mexicans, Go After the Big Hotel Chain. We've written about the fatal dive of Ronda Cross in March 2012 while diving off Cabo San Lucas with her cousin, Roxanne Amundson. Cross didn't surface, and her body was later found floating nearby. Her husband believed she was overcome by carbon monoxide in her tank, and he filed a lawsuit against PADI late last year. Now Roxanne Amundson has filed her own suit for "personal injuries and emotional distress," naming the dive operation that filled the tanks -- and the tenant that leases space to the dive shop, the Wyndham Cabo San Lucas Resort, because it "supervised, controlled, advertised, endorsed, recommended, employed and contracted with [the dive shop] to provide said excursions." Wyndham Hotels and Resorts moved to dismiss the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, CA, because "Mexican law provides adequate alternative forum to hear Amundson's claims." Her lawyers replied, among other things, that Mexico has a very limited system of damages, and Amundson would have no meaningful remedy, whereas the U.S. courts do provide for liability for defendants. The court ruled that Wyndham failed to show Mexico as an adequate forum for the lawsuit and denied its motion to dismiss, so Amundson's case moves onward. And, of course, of all the potential defendants, Wyndham has the deepest pockets.

Mom Fights for Diving Son Jailed in Honduras. Rosemary Carroll of Doyletown, PA, is fighting for the safe return of her son, Devon Butler, after he and five other divers were unfairly imprisoned during a dive expedition in Honduras. Butler, 27, is the lead diver for the Florida-based ocean salvaging company Aqua Quest, and he and his team went to Honduras on May 1 to take mahogany logs from the bottom of a river to help with flooding, and also to teach Honduran lobster divers how to dive properly. To protect themselves from pirates, Butler's team was carrying five guns on their 65-foot boat, but their boat was intercepted in the town of Ahuas and the men were arrested and charged with smuggling weapons. Carroll told the Philadelphia Daily News that the guns were legally in compliance with international maritime law. She has called upon lawyers and lawmakers to get the men back home, and her Congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick, says he is working with U.S. officials and has reached out to the Honduran ambassador for help.

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