COM­MENT FROM JOHN LIPP­MANN

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Research, Education & Medicine -

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.

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