COMMENT FROM JOHN LIPPMANN
advice from a diving medical expert due to the potential for deterioration.
I have dealt with more than a few cases where calls to our diving emergency hotlines have been delayed as a result of a member of the dive staff, who had undergone a brief Neuro course, examining a diver who felt unwell post-dive and found nothing untoward. This led to delays in oxygen first aid and expert diving medical advice and subsequent deterioration of the diver.
So, by all means do a Neuro course to increase your understanding and learn and practise the skills. But don’t be misled into thinking that you are an expert and therefore delay calling a diving emergency hotline for expert advice. The on-call doctor may ask you to do a neuro but will balance any results with his/ her deeper understanding.
Some very important information to gather includes: (1) clear information about the recent dive(s), including profiles, problems during the dive and ascent, surface intervals and mode of decompression advice; (2) symptoms and signs and the time of onset and development of these; (3) the diver’s diving history and any previous problems; (4) the diver’s medical history and any medication currently taken.
Ensuring the ready availability of good oxygen first aid, calling the diving emergency hotline promptly and gathering a good history are cornerstones to diving first aid, and the knowledge of a neuro exam and the ability to perform one add value to but should not displace or delay these.