Case Summaries

  • Diver Using a Full-Face Mask Runs Out of AirAn inexperienced diver with a hypersensitive gag reflex used a full-face mask on a wreck dive. He ran out of compressed breathing gas and had to take off his mask to buddy breathe. On the next dives he took a spare standard mask with him.
  • Frigid Waters Cause Regulator To IceIce on the regulator caused free flow, resulting in an aborted dive.
  • Being Underweighted Makes for an Uncomfortable DiveA diver neglected to check that he had the proper amount of weight before a dive and tried to compensate underwater.
  • Hard-Breathing Regulator Results in Emergency AscentA diver using rented equipment felt he was not getting enough air at depth. He tried buddy breathing but had little improvement. A divemaster came to the rescue by sharing his octopus, and they did a controlled emergency ascent.
  • Diver Suffers Hip Pain During Flight 36 Hours PostdiveA diver who had been on a multiple-day dive trip on a liveaboard experienced pain in his hips during the flight home. He was treated at a chamber on the third day after returning home. His symptoms resolved, but a diagnosis of DCS is uncertain.
  • Leaking Glove Leads to Ear BarotraumaA distracted diver lost buoyancy control and experienced ear barotrauma.
  • Diver’s Muscle Weakness and Tingling in Legs Indicate Possible Spinal Cord DCIA female diver surfaced from a 80fsw dive and experienced back pain and nausea. She was administered oxygen but soon experienced weakness and a "pins and needles" feeling in both legs. She received hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment almost two days later when she returned home. After three sessions in the chamber, she still has lingering symptoms in her legs. Decompression injury of the spinal cord is suspected.
  • Mayhem Dive in a Strong Current Leads To Near Drowning and Multiple InjuriesA diver encountered several incidents in one dive — including buddy separation, strong currents, faulty equipment, out-of-gas situation and lacerations —that resulted in him nearly drowning.
  • Diver on Extreme Diet Falls Ill after an Innocuous DiveAmbiguous DCS symptoms appear in a diver on an extreme low-calorie diet and hCG hormone.
  • Swivel O-Ring Pops Out UnderwaterFailure of a swivel O-ring causes an emergency ascent.
  • Stranded While Drift Diving Drift divers are stranded in open water when a dive does not go according to plan
  • Cutaneous DCS with Transient Neurological Symptoms after a Hot Shower After a hot shower, a diver experiences blotchy rash and welts along with blurred vision and some dizziness.
  • Laughing Out of AirA diver learns the importance of dive-buddy communications and predive equipment checks when both his regulators fail after removing them for some underwater laughter.
  • Savvy Diver Prevents Uncontrolled AscentAn experienced diver with an underwater scooter saves an unprepared diver who overbreathed his regulator and attempted an emergency ascent.
  • Regulator Free-Flow Leads To Failed Buddy BreathingHoses become entangled when a diver with a Hogarthian gear configuration helps an inexperienced diver with regulator free-flow.
  • Vertigo after DiveA woman who develops vertigo and nausea after two dives responds slowly to treatment for inner-ear DCS.
  • Abalone Diver Encounters Bull SharkAn experienced abalone diver recalls a shark encounter.
  • Rebreather Diver Self-Treats Postdive Shoulder Pain (DCS)First-aid surface oxygen resolves postdive shoulder pain (Type 1 DCS) after a correctly executed rebreather dive to 164 feet (50 meters).
  • DAN Will Help Divers with Breathing-Gas Analysis Two cases of air contamination show symptoms of breathing difficulty, dizziness and nausea.
  • King Triggerfish Attacks, Wounds DiverA large triggerfish attacked a diver, hitting him in the head and causing a large wound on the scalp.
  • Swapping Dive ComputersA diver had a regulator free-flow problem and decided to replace it with another of the same kind. Both had a dive computer attached. Should he use the new computer set up?
  • Omitted Predive Buoyancy Check Leads to TroubleScuba diver survives a life-threatening hazard caused by the omission of the predive buoyancy check.
  • Diver Loses Distance Vision after Innocuous DiveA young diver develops temporary nearsightedness (myopia) after repetitive, shallow, no-decompression air dives.
  • Unrecognized Ear BarotraumaA novice diver continues diving despite ear pain.
  • Compressed Gas Tears Skin, Penetrates BodyA scuba diving high-pressure hose ruptures, causing air under pressure to inject into arm. (2013)
  • Sea Lion Attacks a Scuba Diver
  • Rash and Weakness Occur After Dive and Lunch: Allergy, DCS or Both?A diver develops a postdive skin rash and weakness 30 minutes after eating a lobster sandwich. He was treated successfully, but the symptoms reoccurred with diving. Is the cause a food allergy or decompression sickness (skin bends)?
  • Diver Loses Five Fillings on One Dive A rebreather diver experiences tooth pain on ascent and loses five fillings months after dental procedures
  • Diver Experiences Rash, Coughing, Unconsciousness after Hot ShowerChokes, skin marbling and unconsciousness occur after repetitive diving and a hot shower (2012, Honduras)
  • Out-of-Shape Diver Dies During Surface SwimAn overweight 50-year-old diver suffers an apparent cardiac event while swimming.
  • Diver's Leg Paralysis Spontaneously ResolvesDespite the spontaneous resolution of postdive neurological symptoms, the diver still needs urgent medical evaluation.
  • Rebreather Diver Bails Out Due To Frequent Solenoid FiringAn omitted cell check on a rebreather leads to a near miss after frequent solenoid firing warns the diver to bail out.
  • CCR Diver Develops Immersion Pulmonary EdemaA rebreather diver developed IPE symptoms at 291 fsw (87 msw) and managed to complete her decompression obligation. (2012, USA)
  • Inverted on the Descent LineA handicapped diver with a faulty regulator nearly drowns after getting inverted in the water. (2012, USA)
  • Skin Rash Should Not Be IgnoredAn unrecognized case of skin DCS resolves spontaneously. (2012, Tobago)
  • A Flood Without FlotationA rebreather diver failed to test her rig after valve replacement. Her rig flooded, leaving her without buoyancy and breathing gas.
  • A Regulator Hose Rupture Could Be PreventedA regulator hose ruptures at 30 feet, causing the diver to make a free ascent.
  • Diving on EmptyDiver skips predive check and finds his tank is empty. (2013, USA)
  • Heavy Diver No Match for Heavy SeasHeavy seas create problems for an overweight, diabetic diver who nearly drowns after a ladder hits his head. (2012,USA)