Paralyzed and Disoriented in The Caribbean

Dive Accident Case Summary

What started out as an easy Caribbean dive quickly turned into an emergency situation for a 68-year-old male DAN member. After reaching the surface, the diver immediately felt disoriented and thought the boat was drifting away. Once he managed to board the boat, symptoms started compounding and worsening — to the point of temporary paralysis. This member’s DAN Dive Accident Insurance Preferred Plan covered over $22,000 in medical expenses.

The Dives

This member, who had more than 900 lifetime dives, traveled to Mexico to experience some world-renowned wall diving. On his first evening there he performed a brief night dive to familiarize himself with the area. 

On his first full day of diving, the first dive was to 82 feet for about 30 minutes. The second dive was for to 53 feet for 42 minutes followed by a one-hour surface interval. The final dive of the day was a 77-foot dive for 54 minutes and included a safety stop. Reviewing his ascent rate, the diver thinks he came up too fast.

Paralyzed and Disoriented in the Carribean

Diver Became Paralyzed and Disoriented in the Carribean


Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Upon surfacing after the third dive, the diver felt immediately disoriented and could feel his visual acuity degrade. He made it into the boat safely, took off his gear and started involuntarily bending forward. Temporary paralysis followed. 

The divemaster put the diver on oxygen immediately, and the boat made its way back into port so he could seek medical assistance. Symptoms had worsened and the diver had to be carried off the boat and into a waiting vehicle. He was driven to the local hospital and was admitted to the hyperbaric chamber on the premises.

The treating physician administered a USN TT6 hyperbaric treatment on the first day, and the diver stayed at the hospital overnight. Doctors suspected the diver had a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and performed several tests. A second USN TT6 treatment was provided on the second day, and the diver’s ability to walk was restored — although he was unsteady. Doctors agreed on additional treatments, and a third, shorter treatment was administered on the second day. On the third day at the hospital, the diver underwent a fourth hyperbaric treatment before being discharged.  

Upon leaving the hospital feeling better, the diver received images of his heart. Because of the repeated hyperbaric treatments, he was unable to fly for several days. After returning home he met with a cardiologist to discuss the images and any possible heart conditions. After undergoing additional tests, the diver learned he did not have a PFO, and his doctor cleared him return to diving later in the year. 

Expenses Covered

This member’s DAN Dive Accident Insurance Preferred Plan covered 100% of the $22,711.48 in medical expenses incurred from this incident. His return travel plans were fortunately unaffected, and he did not incur additional travel expenses. 

Paralyzed and Disoriented in the Carribean DAN Claim Story Expenses

Dive Accident Insurance Resources

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The scenario summarized above is offered only as an example.  Coverage depends on the facts of each case and the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy. Coverage may not be available in all states or outside of the U.S.

For residents of NY, insurance is underwritten by The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York, NAIC No. 70106 domiciled in the state of New York, with its principal place of business of 28 Liberty Street, Floor 45th, New York, NY 10005-1400. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states, plus DC, except PR. This summary is a brief description of benefits only and is subject to the terms, conditions and limitations. Coverage may vary by state.  AG 12070

For residents of all other U.S. states and the District of Columbia insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company with its principal place of business at 1271 Ave of the Americas FL 37, New York, NY 10020-1304. It is currently authorized to conduct insurance business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445. This summary provides only brief descriptions of the coverages available. The issued policy and certificate will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions, definitions and termination provisions. Full details of the coverage will be contained in the issued policy and certificate. If there are any conflicts between this summary and the issued policy and certificate, the policy and certificate shall govern in all cases. Coverage may vary by state or may not be available in all states.

In Canada, DAN World Dive Accident Insurance is underwritten by Zurich Insurance Company Ltd (Canadian Branch) 100 King Street West, Suite 5500, P.O. Box 290, Toronto, ON M5X 1C9 CANADA