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Couple Experiences DCS in the Maldives

During a trip to the Maldives, a couple experienced skin rashes, dizziness and nausea after their second day of diving. When the wife collapsed, they were rushed to the hospital, and both were diagnosed with decompression sickness.

The divers underwent several days of hyperbaric treatments, which cost US$33,697.00. They had no travel insurance or health insurance, but their DAN Guardian Plan paid 100% of their eligible medical expenses.

Two DAN members, a 55-year-old dive instructor with more than 500 logged dives, and his wife, an experienced diver with approximately 80 logged dives, experienced DCS in April of 2019 on a dive trip in the Maldives. They each completed 5 dives on air over the course of two days and followed similar profiles. The husband dived to 30.8M (101 ft) for 50 minutes and 23.7M (78 ft) for 56 minutes on the first day. The next day he completed 3 dives, first to 20.1M (66 ft) for 57 minutes, then to 29.9M (98 ft) for 48 minutes and 31.1M (102 ft) for 43 minutes with 4.5-hour surface intervals between each dive. His wife completed 2 dives the first day, never exceeding a depth of 31M (102 ft) or a 56-minute bottom time. On the second day she completed 3 dives, never exceeding a maximum depth of 31M (102 ft) or a 57-minute bottom time. Her surface intervals lasted even longer than her husband's and spanned 4 hours and 45 minutes each. Both divers completed 3-minute safety stops at the end of each dive and never violated the protocols set forth by their dive computers.Both of these DAN members felt unwell after the first day of diving and experienced some skin rashes, but their symptoms resolved overnight and they continued to dive the next day. About 20 minutes after their last dive of the second day, the husband experienced dizziness and vomiting and was unable to stand or walk without assistance. He also experienced a skin rash that covered his whole chest, upper abdomen, both arms and back and he complained of pain in his neck.

Around the same time, his wife suddenly fainted in her cabin room and was experiencing a skin rash and nausea. She also could not stand or walk without collapsing due to weakness. Both divers were put on oxygen and transported to the nearest emergency medical facility for evaluation.

Ultimately, both divers were diagnosed with Type II Decompression Sickness skin and neurological symptoms. Each followed a multi-disciplinary treatment protocol and the wife's symptoms resolved with just two hyperbaric treatments, but her husband needed to remain in the hospital for four days to undergo three US Navy TT6 treatments followed by two US Navy TT5 treatments. Upon discharge their symptoms had almost entirely resolved but they were advised not to fly for 72 hours.Over the course of their treatment, the couple incurred a combined equivalent of US$33,697.00 in medical expenses. Between the time they spent receiving treatment and extra time waiting for medical clearance to fly home, they incurred expenses for 11 days of unexpected accommodations and meal expenses amounting to an equivalent of US$2,450.22.

These divers had no medical or travel insurance to cover these expenses, but they did have DAN dive accident insurance. The couple's Guardian plan paid 100% of their eligible medical bills directly to the foreign provider and the Guardian plan's Extra Accommodations benefit covered all their hotel fees and meal expenses.


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