Sometimes divers get injured even when they do everything right. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for anything.
On a recent trip to Mexico, Brad’s first day of diving was enjoyable and relatively uneventful. On the second day, however, he experienced an odd sensation at the end of his first dive. “As soon as we surfaced I thought I saw the boat moving away from me,” he said. “But I quickly realized I was disoriented and the boat wasn’t moving. It felt like vertigo.” Despite the symptoms, he managed to get on board.
He removed his gear and was talking to his buddy when he began involuntarily leaning forward until he lost his balance and collapsed face-down on the deck. He felt paralyzed and couldn’t get up. The divemaster immediately gave him 100 percent oxygen and notified the captain, who headed back to the resort. “At some point during the ride back they called to shore and contacted DAN, who seamlessly arranged for everything that I needed,” he said. When they arrived at the dock, a paramedic was waiting to transport him to the local hospital. They had to drag him off the boat, with one person under each arm, because he could not walk.
At the hospital, the doctor performed various diagnostic tests before concluding Brad had DCI and admitting him to the hospital. The first chamber treatment brought some relief, but he was hospitalized overnight and underwent a second treatment the next day. He continued to be unsteady on his feet and had two additional chamber treatments, receiving IV fluids and rest after each treatment. He left the hospital after four long chamber rides over three days, and he was able to walk out of the hospital without any assistance.
“DAN made all the arrangements for my care behind the scenes,” Brad said. “I was grateful that I didn’t have to worry, especially since I probably wasn’t fit to have those discussions anyway. I’ve been a DAN member for more than 20 years, and my membership and dive accident insurance were vitally important on this trip.”
After reviewing the dive profile from his computer, Brad concluded that he had done nothing wrong — no fast ascent, no exceeded limits, no missed safety stop — but got DCI anyway. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not uncommon. The majority of DCI cases that DAN manages occur in divers who stayed within the limits of their dive computer.
“The final hospital bill for my treatment was more than $22,000, but I never had to pay a dime. I realized that I could afford my DAN insurance for more than a lifetime for less than this one incident would have cost me,” he said. “I had DAN dive accident insurance coverage for a long time before I needed it, and even if I never need it again, it has more than paid for itself. As I continue to dive for as long as I am able, I will never be without DAN.”
For only US$40 per year for an individual or US$60 per year for a family, DAN takes the guesswork out of emergency logistics. Once a member calls the 24/7 hotline, DAN arranges care — including evacuations and complex air travel arrangements if necessary. Behind the scenes, DAN specialists coordinate medical care and transportation with local agencies, and in dive emergencies, DAN medical staff can even consult with local physicians who may not be familiar with dive medicine.
With more than 40 years of experience managing emergencies around the globe, DAN helps its members fully enjoy their travels. Learn more about the benefits of being a DAN member.