DCS In The Maldives

Dive Accident Case Summary

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.

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The Dives

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.

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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.

Expenses Covered

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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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 IN, MN, NH, NY, OH and WA, 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 a principal place of business of One World Financial Center, 200 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281. 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 175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038. 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 under Policy Series S30854DBG. 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.