John Lippman, DAN Asia-Pacific Chairman, addresses some concerns raised regarding the article titled “Field Neurology for Divers”
In our last issue of Alert Diver we included an article entitled, “Field Neurology for
Divers”. While this is an interesting and useful educational article, concern has been raised by an experienced diving medical physician about the effectiveness and accuracy of a field neuro exam performed by someone who does so inexpertly and infrequently. I share this concern.
In my view, a Field Neuro course for divers provides some interesting and useful insights into possible symptoms and signs of decompression illness (DCI) and their origin, as well as a fascinating overview of our neurological system. As such, I encourage all divers to attend one.
However, while the neurological tests taught in such programmes are appropriate, they can be very unreliable when performed by someone without substantial experience, regular practice and further knowledge in these. Without such experience and practice, subtle but important signs can easily be missed and a diver with significant dysfunction deemed as “normal”. In addition, tests that involve a diver with possible DCI standing should only be done under