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<font color='#810541'>I have done this so many times that it becomes second nature- then you fu*k up for no apparent reason. Lack of concentration, distracted, whatever!

A simple task, I was asked to remove a cylinder from the whip that had just been filled. I closed the whip valve off, closed the cylinder valve, put my thumb on the purge valve with my index finger curled underneath, why I did this I don’t know, then pressed the purge valve with my thumb. 240 bar bank pressure straight into my index finger. I hadn’t closed the whip valve, it was open. There was a large escape of air, which I shut down and gave the customer his cylinder.

Because of the way I had my index finger I blasted the escaping air into my finger, down the tendon sheaths and into the back of my hand and up my other fingers. I didn’t even realise I had done it until I looked at my finger end and saw that it was completely white and hard with no feeling and no apparent circulation.

So off to casualty and totally confused the Doc and then the first specialist and then the second. The second wanted to operate to remove the air pockets, which had shown up on the x-ray. I wasn’t happy with this idea and so got someone to contact Murrayfield, the Hyperbaric facility at the Wirral. Don’t let them cut you and get your arse down here, was the reply after they had liased with the specialist, who was glad to get rid as he admitted he didn’t have a clue. They were baffled to say the least. Trust me to have done something, which it appeared that no one had ever done before.

I was whisked off to Murrayfield by a friend and about an hour and some later arrived to be greeted by the staff. What an amazing place and the staff were very friendly and extremely professional. All details were taken and a lot of playing with the back of the hand to feel what a subcutaneous emphysema feels like. Basically pudgy and a bit crunchy, very weird. I was told that although they had heard of this happening none of the staff had ever seen it before.

The decision was whether to put me in the chamber and take me down to x metres to reduce the air pockets, or whether to let it work it’s way out naturally. A full neuro exam was done leaving no bit of me untouched, well some bits. Final decision was to allow the body to sort itself out, if it hasn’t after 48 hrs then back down to Murrayfield. Well almost 30 hrs and it is reducing slightly but not as quickly as I thought it would, so fingers crossed that it has gone by teatime tomorrow or it’s back to the Wirral and probably into the pot.

We are certainly very lucky to have a facility like this and others around the country with such professional and knowledgeable staff working in them. I have never been to a chamber before but the facilities were amazing and re-assuring to know that they are available if the sh*t hit’s the fan.

To refer to Murrayfield as a chamber is an incredible understatement, I would advise anyone to go and have a look, I think they do organised tours by arrangement. I cannot begin to describe the place as I was a bit distracted but Chris got the tour while I was being treated and he was gobsmacked to say the least.

The good news is, if the air pockets disperse then only a week without diving, the bad news, I am on anti biotics so can’t drink and can’t dive Portland Mon Tue and Wed as planned. One day I will get to see the M2.
 

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<font color='#000080'>Phil,

Just so I've got this right, are you saying that you've managed to force the high pressure air through the pores of your skin and into your hand? No wonder they hadn't seen that before.

I'd always thought that the epidermis was air/water tight. You know, you learn something new every day!

Hope it clears up quickly and you're back in the water soon.

Take care.
 

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<font color='#810541'>Hi Mark, 240bar and two small entry points from very narrow jets, it pierced the skin and then found the line of least resistance which happened to be down the tendon sheaths. It all happened in a split second.
 

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Phil,

Hope all works out well for you.

Mark,

High pressure gasses and liquids will pass right through the skin.  I was a witness to a nasty accident on an offshore oil rig where a guy held the hose to a hydraulic torque wrench.  There was a pinhole leak in the hose.  Oil at about 500 psi was pumped straight into his hand through the skin.  In hospital he had his hand sliced open and left open with an absorbent wadding for several days to try and soak out the oil.  Not too sure as what happend after.  We were later told in a safety report the water at 120 psi (thats if applied locally and suddenly) can pass through the skin, so be carefull using pressure washers.

Darren
 

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Hope you get better, your lucky to still be alive.
I was told about this when i was doing my welding course which uses hi pressure gasses,
Keep your skin away from fast escaping gasses as HP air etc can pass through your skin, you "can inject" the gas in to your blood streem which will make bubbles in your blood, usually death comes after,  Even low pressure like tyre inflators can cause bad effects.
Tony
 

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This is the principle behind jet injection systems (like you see on Star Trek), high pressure liquid is injected into the subcutaneous tissues.

Some companies are marketing devices for conditions like diabetes - Bioject

Dom
 

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sorry to hear of your accident, I've never knew that it was possible for high pressure air to enter through the pores. I nursed a lady once who had surgical emphysema, it was caused by a chest drain. The air escaped from the chest drain into the tissues of her body. It was wierd because as she spoke her voice resonated because of the air in her tissues. When her skin was touched it also resonated like a drum, and the air could be felt popping under the skin. When the chest drain was removed the air began to dissipate. Have you had any odd sensations like that with your finger? I bet your not able to bend your fingers because of the swelling.

Good luck, hope you get better soon.  
 

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<font color='#810541'>Hi Susan, back to normal now thanks. 48 hrs and all was well, the air didn't enter through the pores, it made two small holes and then shot down the tendon sheaths.


I just have to be different.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Phil Ennis @ Oct. 21 2003,21:50)]Hi Susan, back to normal now thanks. 48 hrs and all was well, the air didn't enter through the pores, it made two small holes and then shot down the tendon sheaths.


I just have to be different.
Glad to here your 'erm' normal again!!!!!
 

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Phil  Just picked up on this forum and your thread. Many thanks for posting and especially long term result. Please post if any future problems. I had heard of this high pressure injection of air thru skin. It usually occurs with dirty industrial type air and injects oil and dust. The standard treatment for this is to lay open the hand surgically as mentioned by one other post. It seems apparent from your post that clean breathing air is OK and will settle without surgery, maybe yet another resason for well maintained compressors.
Best wishes Tim Digger
 

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Just as well it was only air, could've been much worse, I was working with some young diesel-fitter trainees once upon a time, they were messing around with the diesel injectors and one got a shot of it into his bloodstream, he later died...  
 
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