Medical Assessment for Fitness to Dive

DatesNovember 6 2014toNovember 9 2014
LocationWestin Canal Place
100 Rue Iberville
New Orleans, Louisiana
ContactDonald Chandler


This course has been taught to more than 325 physicians during the past nine years. Our faculty will be addressing medical assessment for commercial divers, public safety divers, scientific divers, and recreational divers. The course is taught by physicians for physicians, however nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, diving medical technologists and clinical hyperbaric technologists are welcome. We cover the Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC) commercial diving medicine requirements established for the Unites States and Europe — we cover the globe!


Course Objectives
When you complete this course you will be expected to have filled professional practice gaps such that you will be able to demonstrate:
  • Competence in performing medical examinations of candidates for commercial, recreational, public safety, and scientific diving; and determine their physical fitness for such endeavors.
  • Knowledge of the development of diving and its concurrent development of diving medicine.
  • Knowledge of and explanation of the various gas physics laws with a clear understanding of how each law affects human physiology.
  • Knowledge of Barotraumas, both pulmonary and non-pulmonary that divers and hyperbaric workers suffer detailing the anatomy and physiology of anatomical structures that have a likelihood for barotraumas; and detail the proper treatment and prevention.
  • Bubble theory by showing knowledge as to their formation, growth, and dissolution with proper treatment.
  • Elucidation of the difference in commercial, recreational, public safety, and scientific diving. Explain why each of these fields of diving activity requires a different medical approach and assessment of fitness to dive.
And these are just a few of the competencies you will be expected to be able to demonstrate upon completion of this course. See our schedule for a more complete listing of topics.


John J. Wassel, MD, MHS
  • Medical Director of the Presbyterian Advanced Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • The lead author of the Public Safety Diving Medical Guidelines
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dive Medical Officer;
  • PADI Master Dive Instructor. He has also been an instructor with NAUI, SSI, YMCA, CMAS, SDI, TDI and IANTD.
J. Nicholas Vandemoer, MD
  • Board Certified: UHM/ABPM, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • Associate Surgeon, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Service
  • Private Practice, Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine and Otolaryngology, Hyannis, Massachusetts
  • At-Large Board Member, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society 2010-2012
Keith Van Meter, MD
  • Board certified in Emergency Medicine with subspecialty board certification in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine.
  • From 1989 to the present, Dr. Van Meter has served as the Chief of the Section of Emergency Medicine in the Department of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • He has served as the Medical Director of the Baromedical Research Institute Hyperbaric Laboratory in New Orleans, Louisiana since 1980.
  • Served on a task force to develop medical support planning for NASA for astronauts aboard a space station from 2000-2002.
  • Treated over 600 hundred commercial divers in the Gulf of Mexico who suffered from acute decompression sickness or arterial gas embolism.
Bobby J. Delise, JD
  • Founding partner of the New Orleans based law firm Delise and Hall
  • Representation of an international clientele of oil field, inland and construction commercial divers, technical, public safety and recreational divers in personal injury litigation
  • Since 2004 he has lectured for the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society where he lectures on Diving Law and legal issues related to hyperbaric medicine.
  • He has lectured on Diving Law and safety within the commercial diving community at several of the leading commercial diving schools throughout the United States, including DIT in Seattle, Santa Barbara City College and Young Memorial in Morgan City.
Don Chandler, MA
  • Executive Director of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society 2000 - 2007.
  • 23 years active duty with the U.S. Navy including a long tenure in experimental diving and other undersea research activities. In his Navy credentials repertoire he can claim that of a hospital administrator, a medical research administrator, a submariner, a diving officer (deep sea, scuba, and saturation), a school administrator, and a U.S. Navy aquanaut.
  • As a federal employee, he was the Assistant Director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Research Program then as Department Head in charge of diving operations at the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) in Bethesda, Maryland.



Day One: Part I: Basic Science and Dive Medicine Topics
  • Welcome and Introduction to Course - Wassel
  • History of Diving - Wassel
  • Diving Physics and Physiology - Vandemoer
  • Pulmonary Barotrauma - Wassel
  • Non-Pulmonary Barotrauma - Vandemoer
  • Decompression Sickness (DCS) - Wassel
  • Hyperbaric Medicine – Van Meter
Day Two: Part II: Types of Diving and Medical Standards
  • Introduction to Commercial Diving - Chandler
  • Commercial Diving 1 - VanMeter
  • Commercial Diving 2 - VanMeter
  • Trip to Commercial Dive Facility for Demonstration and "Hands On"
Day Three: Part II (Continued)
  • Sport Diving 1 - Wassel
  • Sport Diving 2 - Wassel
  • Sport Diving 2 continued- Wassel
  • Scientific Diving 1 - Vandemoer
  • Scientific Diving 2 - Vandemoer
  • Public Safety Diving 1 - Wassel
  • Public Safety Diving 2 - Wassel
  • Examination of the Diver - Vandemoer
  • Medical-Legal Aspects of Determining Fitness to Dive - Delise
Day Four: Part II (Continued)
  • Travel Medicine and the Working Diver - Vandemoer
  • Fitness to Dive: Commercial dive cases – Van Meter
  • Fitness to Dive: Recreational and Public Safety Diving Cases- Wassel
  • Fitness to Dive: Scientific Dive Cases - Vandemoer
  • Examination and Review - Faculty
  • Presentation of Certificates and Closing Remarks - Faculty

Sheraton Hotel Central Reservations: 888-627-7033

Accreditation Statement: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) and Divers Alert Network (DAN). WMS is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Designation Statement: The Wilderness Medical Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 36 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Full Disclosure Statement: All faculty members and planners participating in continuing medical education activities sponsored by Wilderness Medical Society, Divers Alert Network and Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Educators, L.L.C. are expected to disclose to the participants any relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. Full disclosure of faculty and planner relevant financial relationships will be made at the activity.