Don’t Deny DCS Symptoms

Dive professionals know that decompression sickness (DCS) is a fact of life. We invest significant time and effort in preventing it. What many divers — and even many dive pros — don’t know is that most cases of DCS occur after dives that were within the depth and time limits of the diver’s computer.

DCS is unpredictable, and a diver who has symptoms after diving should be evaluated by a medical professional — regardless of the dive profile. Divers have a tendency to ignore symptoms, hoping they’ll go away on their own. So if you suspect DCS, trust your instincts and don’t delay — contact DAN, and encourage the affected diver to be seen by a doctor.

Brett a commencé à plonger au milieu de la quarantaine et en est devenu accro, toujours à la recherche de destinations plus chaudes pour sortir du froid et de l'enclavement du Midwest américain.

Brett booked a dive trip to Cozumel. The first dive of the vacation was intended to determine everyone’s skill level before a week of diving. The 50-minute dive was easy; they went to a maximum depth of 75 feet (23 metres) and performed a slow ascent and a three-minute safety stop. Brett dived with nitrox 32.

Despite the ease of the dive, Brett felt tingling in his right foot and a dull ache in his knee as he was stripping off his wetsuit. DCS immediately came to his mind, but he brushed off the idea —after such an easy dive it seemed unlikely that he would have DCS.

Brett dismissed his initial concerns and did a second dive after an hourlong surface interval. The next day, Brett performed two more dives. Although the sensation in his foot stopped, his knee continued to bother him. As it didn’t feel like muscle or joint soreness, Brett still didn’t think it was a symptom of DCS.

But Brett’s nagging thoughts of a dive injury persisted, so he finally decided to call DAN and get the opinion of a trained dive medic. After discussing the dives and symptoms, the medic instructed Brett to go to the local hospital.

L'infirmier du DAN a appelé le centre médical à l'avance et ils étaient prêts à accueillir Brett lorsqu'il est arrivé. Après quelques tests, le médecin a confirmé que Brett souffrait d'un cas léger de DCS. Brett a immédiatement été mis sous perfusion et sous oxygène à 100 %, puis traité dans un caisson hyperbare.

After one overnight stay at the hospital, Brett’s symptoms dissipated, and he was reevaluated and discharged. The rest of his trip to Cozumel was spent above water.

Even easy, uneventful dives can result in DCS. If any out-of-the-ordinary symptom arises, it’s always in a diver’s best interest to stop what they’re doing and call DAN. While it may be easiest to wish the symptom away, being proactive and acting swiftly is more effective. Waiting can often worsen the situation.

“I should not have waited until the second day to get treatment simply because I thought it was impossible for me to have DCS,” said Brett. “If you think you have DCS, there’s a good chance you are correct. Just because you followed every rule and dived conservatively doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you.”

DAN élimine les incertitudes liées à la logistique des situations d'urgence. Dès qu'un membre appelle la hotline 24/7, DAN organise les soins nécessaires, y compris les évacuations et les voyages aériens complexes si nécessaire. En coulisses, les spécialistes de DAN coordonnent les soins médicaux et le transport avec les agences locales. En cas d'urgence, le personnel médical de DAN peut même consulter les médecins locaux qui ne sont pas forcément familiarisés avec la médecine de plongée.

With more than 40 years of experience managing emergencies around the globe, DAN ensures you get to fully enjoy your travels.