Las fuertes corrientes contribuyen a lesiones graves en la cabeza

El fuerte oleaje crea problemas a un buceador diabético que casi se ahoga al golpearse la cabeza con una escalera.

Historia reportada

I took part in a wreck-diving excursion on a charter boat in the Atlantic. Waves were 5-6 feet, and the captain said there was a half-knot current. Several divers, including myself, were seasick and decided not to dive. Some divers entered the water but cut their dives short. Several other overweight divers, however, completed their dives. I felt if they could, I could do it, too. Someone advised that I’d feel better as soon as I was in the water, so I decided to try it. I used a drysuit and double 108s with wing.

I entered the water last, just as the boat was calling off a second dive. I was advised to “get below the current immediately,” so I had no air in the drysuit or wing. The current was strong enough that divers went in holding a rope, and the first mate pulled them to the hang bar. I believe the current was closer to 3 or 4 knots at that time.

Tras una entrada a paso de gigante, me arrastraron hasta la barra de suspensión, pero no pude nadar contra la corriente y me di cuenta de que tenía problemas. Mi inflador (en el ala) se me había ido por la espalda y no podía alcanzarlo. No pensé en utilizar el inflador del traje seco. Pataleaba hacia la superficie y le decía al compañero que necesitaba ayuda. Él quería llevarme de vuelta a la barra colgante. Finalmente, el capitán del barco me oyó y entró en el agua para ayudarme a llegar a la escalera. No pude hacerle entender que necesitaba mi inflador.

The seas seemed huge; I was seeing the starboard side prop from the port side of the boat. I have no recollection of the journey to the ladder, but I must have missed it because I was on the current rope, on my back and “zooming” to the end of it. Something was tugging my regulator, and I was inhaling a mist of water and air.

Tras un tremendo esfuerzo del operador y de mi compañero de inmersión, conseguí la escalera. Sin embargo, el barco cogió una gran ola, me puso de lado y la escalera me golpeó en la sien. Vi que mi visión se estrechaba hasta convertirse en un túnel teñido de amarillo; sólo recuerdo la pérdida de la línea de corriente, el hundimiento, un fuerte empujón con los pies y la recuperación de la línea. Recuerdo haber oído gritos para que me pusieran cuerdas, seguí luchando y por fin estaba en la plataforma trasera. Estaba agotado y no podía moverme para subir al barco. De alguna manera, otros me subieron al barco, me quitaron el traje seco y me dieron oxígeno inmediatamente y durante todo el viaje de vuelta.

A Coast Guard craft intercepted us on the way and put medics on board; we continued to the USCG station to a waiting ambulance. At the hospital I was diagnosed as a saltwater “partial” drowning and given continuous oxygen therapy. Later, I was transferred to another hospital, where treatment continued; medical personnel noted I had numbers indicating a kidney issue. They adjusted my existing medications — I am an insulin-dependent diabetic taking Humulin R500 as well as Naproxin for joint pain. I was released the next day, went home to my own doctor and was immediately admitted to the local hospital, where they continued treatment for drowning, then renal failure and finally atrial fibrillation. I was in the hospital for about 10 days and continued to convalesce for nearly a month.

This incident was my fault entirely, as I made poor decisions at each point. I was seasick, dehydrated, overheated, diving with the wrong gear, determined to dive simply to avoid wasting the money, ignoring the experience of other divers who chose not to dive, accepting the notion that I’d feel better in the water and, finally, diving with no buoyancy. I have recovered completely, have made some dives since then and plan to continue diving, using this experience as a guide for future decisions.


Bad judgments, both on the diver’s side and the dive operator’s side, contributed to this accident. If the sea was so heavy and the current so strong, the operator should have raised a yellow flag, which would warn divers to abstain from diving if they are not healthy and fit for the occasion (e.g., overweight divers, older divers, diabetics, unfit divers and beginners). Unfortunately, there is no established system in diving similar to the one used on public beaches or on the ski slopes that could help divers make proper decisions.

En este caso, el buceador era consciente de todos los problemas y aun así utilizó su mal juicio. Se trata de un buceador de 67 años, con 18 años de experiencia en el buceo y totalmente capaz de tomar decisiones responsables. El mareo severo puede haber afectado a su juicio. Esta es otra razón para que los operadores de buceo ayuden a los buceadores a tomar sus decisiones.

There were no details in the report about medical fitness to dive for this diver. Developing renal (kidney) failure may indicate that he already had end-organ damage, which comes with diabetes, including heart diseases. However, when explicitly asked, he said he had a cardiac physical including stress tests and an echocardiogram about six months prior to the incident and was cleared to dive. His blood pressure was 115/75 without medication. Regardless of medical fitness, it is not very likely that a 5’9″ tall diver weighing 275 pounds is physically fit for the challenges of the wreck diving in the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Petar Denoble, Doctor en Medicina, Doctor en Ciencias.