YD Scuba Diving Forums banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Off to T.D.F.
Joined
·
695 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Incident from a while ago..

As a 3, we did a dive to 25m as our second dive of the day (and my buddies' 4th of the trip); the ascent wasn't rushed, we had a 3min stop at 6m, but equally could have been slower with hindsight.

Back on the boat, one of my buddies said he felt a slight ache in his shoulder, and was sufficiently worried that he asked for the O2 kit to go off the boat. (Mistake 1 - not telling the skipper then; at the time, I had no idea whether to or not; it's not the same as in the O2 admin scenarios).

So we got to the dock, unloaded the O2 kit and cylinders - but because we were on the same (chartered) boat the next day, left some stuff on board. (Mistake 2 - this included the computer of the guy with the suspected bend!)

We went to our rooms (5min walk from the dock), and bent buddy took a shower, then decided that he was still feeling the ache and put himself on Oxygen. At this point, it ended up with most of the members of the trip in their room. He was the most experienced diver, and all the others were on about the same level - no one wanted to take charge! (Mistake 3 - assuming someone else would do it). Eventually I "took charge", spoke to the local chamber, and we took him there; the ache went away after compression to 18m, so they put him in the chamber for 5hrs. They said that having the computer then would have been a real benefit - as it was, they could only go off max depth and dive time, and based on this he'd missed a lot of stops. (When they eventually looked at his computer, they agreed the profile was sensible)

He was examined the next morning (along with his computer!) and declared fine (but with a 1 month dive ban). So all ended well; but I learnt a lot from my first "real" dive incident:

- Computers, tables etc. aren't infallible.
- Don't ignore what someone says; your natural instinct will be to play it down, as will theirs. If you're at all suspicious, talk to the skipper, put them on O2 and call the duty diving doctor.
- Make sure everyone brings their dive computer/timer and any log sheets off the boat each evening. (And an O2 kit if possible)
- Take charge. It doesn't matter if you're not the most experienced there - if you think the incident isn't being taken seriously enough, take charge.
- Refilling an O2 kit is really cheap. Afterwards, we made sure the club knew that club funds would pay for any Oxygen used in good faith, even if in hindsight it seemed an over-reaction. I'd recommend other clubs make this explicit - it could reassure someone enough to make them act, and that seems a very worthwhile use of my membership fee.

We also learnt a lot about discretion when talking about an incident afterwards, in that we didn't do it very well. All I'll say there is that you need to discuss carefully with the person concerned before releasing any information to people who weren't there. Sounds obvious, but easy to get wrong in the heat of the moment.
 

·
Off to T.D.F.
Joined
·
695 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Not that I'm aware of, although we wondered about dehydration being a factor. That said, I've heard enough tales of people that did everything right and still got bent to know that there isn't necessarily one.
 

·
The smell of freshly turned delrin is more powerfu
Joined
·
3,173 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,810 Posts
Dehydration was certainly a factor in my bend, which was joint pain. I discussed PFO with the doc at the chamber who was as certain as anyone can be with his experience but with no test, that there was little chance that I had one. My buddy was referred for a test, though, as his symptoms were very different to mine.

PFO seems to be the way many people try to explain a bend. They don't cause them, bubbles do. If you don't have bubbles, you won't get bent. The presence of a PFO simply gives the bubbles an easier path to follow.
 

·
Silent but Deadly...
Joined
·
1,522 Posts
According to Dr Peter Wilmurst ( apology if spelt wrong) a PFO causes a skin bend or a neurological bend but not joint pain.

Graham.
In majority cases yes however not 100% bullet proof.

Been diving for 15 now and only last year after a farily shallow max 35m I ended up with a skin rash in abdominal area. Then some dives later i had the same again with visual disturbances and mild shoulder discomfort. After that I paid a visit to my local cardiologist who was useless. He said he thought... i stress... he thought I had one but must be small and he did not think it was worth
fixing.

Dr M Turner whom I approached privately - dont you just love BUPA - when fixing me found nearly half an inch shunt. Pro op bubble test showed passing bubbles when resting!!!

I therefore think that

a. there is no bulletproof statement unless tested and
b/ certainly there are plenty of people with PFOs who had been diving for years and never got hit... and even possible never will.

However a specialist like Dr Turner or Dr Wilmshurst will certainely be able to advise over the phone if one should consider bubble test.

my2p
 

·
A Moderate from 04/01/07-24/12/12
Joined
·
11,804 Posts
The OP is a super post - Thanks.

I am fortunate enough to have never been close to a bent diver so don't know how I'd react.

It's not the first time that divers have found themselves in this position and nor will it be the last - but I think the lessons described about management of the issue are more important than the cause.....you may only get to worry about the cause if you manage the incident correctly in the first place!

In discussion with others it does seem that getting bent ranks up there along side seasickness as somehow competitive or "non-manly" which I don't properly understand, but seems to drive this state of denial.

Anyway, big thanks to the OP for sharing.
Mal
 

·
Off to T.D.F.
Joined
·
695 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I am fortunate enough to have never been close to a bent diver so don't know how I'd react.

It's not the first time that divers have found themselves in this position and nor will it be the last - but I think the lessons described about management of the issue are more important than the cause.....you may only get to worry about the cause if you manage the incident correctly in the first place!
Glad you appreciated it. What prompted me to write about it was that, looking back on it, there are so many ways it could have been handled better. Medically it probably wouldn't have made a difference, but in terms of keeping everyone happier and less stressed it could have. I am glad that I got to make all these mistakes on an "easy" bend, so that if there is a more serious one I hope I will get these things right straight away, which could save a life. As I said, no matter how many scenarios you do, the real thing is completely different - because in the scenarios you're pretty sure somethings going to happen, whereas in real life it's straight out of the blue.

As for what caused it - I have no idea; my buddy knows enough to decide whether he wants to go for a PFO check, and to a certain extent it's none of my business. But the tendency for people to say "there must have been something they did wrong" was one of the things that happened when we discussed the incident afterwards, and my buddy found it quite upsetting - the reality was he hadn't gone into deco, did a 3min stop at 6 which the computer didn't require, and had done many dives like this (and more challenging) before.

I think that if you assume that someone who is bent must have got it wrong (or has a PFO or something else wrong with them) then it makes them feel worse, when they're already feeling crap enough as it is. It's right to try to explore if there was anything wrong - but equally, it has to be done very sensitively, and without broadcasting events.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,795 Posts
Dehydration was certainly a factor in my bend, which was joint pain. I discussed PFO with the doc at the chamber who was as certain as anyone can be with his experience but with no test, that there was little chance that I had one. My buddy was referred for a test, though, as his symptoms were very different to mine.

PFO seems to be the way many people try to explain a bend. They don't cause them, bubbles do. If you don't have bubbles, you won't get bent. The presence of a PFO simply gives the bubbles an easier path to follow.
I don't understand what you mean Morag. Test or no test, the chance of you having a PFO is the same. If the chamber guy meant the he thought there was little chance you had one because of the symptoms to did have, I don't see how they can exclude the possibility of a PFO existing anyway. 1 in 4 is not great odds against having one, although size may matter.

Dr Wilmshurst showed some great images at last year's DOC of naturally occurring connections between veins and arteries bypassing the lungs thus not filtering out bubbles. Bit of a bugger to find after the PFO fix too.

Adrian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
628 Posts
Nice post, some good lessons to be learnt and you're subsequent post about blame even if self blame is a very good point as well, I will try to remember it if bends happen in my future diving - thanks

I never leave my computer a boat, but that is for a very different reason, a proffesional thief who plans raiding a boat will take everything but an oportunist will take small high value easily sold items.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,810 Posts
I don't understand what you mean Morag. Test or no test, the chance of you having a PFO is the same. If the chamber guy meant the he thought there was little chance you had one because of the symptoms to did have, I don't see how they can exclude the possibility of a PFO existing anyway. 1 in 4 is not great odds against having one, although size may matter.

Dr Wilmshurst showed some great images at last year's DOC of naturally occurring connections between veins and arteries bypassing the lungs thus not filtering out bubbles. Bit of a bugger to find after the PFO fix too.

Adrian
The symptoms I had (a hurty elbow) did not point to symptoms typically displayed by someone who has a PFO. I could probably have had a test if I had asked for one, but I didn't see much point. I feel that there seems to be an increasing arttitude of 'I am bent, i did nothing wrong, therefore I probably have a PFO'. Knowing for sure whether you have one or not might be an advantage, but not every bend is there becasue of a PFO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,795 Posts
The symptoms I had (a hurty elbow) did not point to symptoms typically displayed by someone who has a PFO. I could probably have had a test if I had asked for one, but I didn't see much point. I feel that there seems to be an increasing arttitude of 'I am bent, i did nothing wrong, therefore I probably have a PFO'. Knowing for sure whether you have one or not might be an advantage, but not every bend is there becasue of a PFO.
Absolutely agree Morag.

I've seen two bends (not including my own suspected or washing power incidents ;)), one very obvious, one not so certain, both treated quickly. Both divers had PFOs, both now fixed. Who knows if they were part of the cause or if those divers will get bent again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
My buddy was very fortunate to have Kev on the boat when she got a little bent.

Having someone there with the knowledge and confidence to put someone onto O2 without hesitation and give direction was fantastic. He seriously changed my outlook on diving and buddy care that day and I am still thankful for that.

All that been said, he's still ugly :D
 

·
deeply confused
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
who? Kev? or your buddy? :D
The buddy was referred to as 'she'.....there's a hint there:D

Pedantry and p-taking aside, excellent OP. Some of the best and most informative posts are the ones where posters admit to problems or deficiencies and tell the rest of us what they learned from the experience. When a dive goes well all is fine: when things go pear-shaped is when we learn about what we have in reserve. Classic example was the HP post on what he learned from being on a diveboat that went down, no ego, just a good description of what happened along with the confusion and consternation.

Glad the guy in the OP wasn't badly bent, a month off diving is going to pass readily enough.
 

·
give me convenience
Joined
·
2,436 Posts
My buddy was very fortunate to have Kev on the boat when she got a little bent.

Having someone there with the knowledge and confidence to put someone onto O2 without hesitation and give direction was fantastic. He seriously changed my outlook on diving and buddy care that day and I am still thankful for that.

All that been said, he's still ugly :D
And I will still be ugly tomorrow. :)

It was nothing really. Then again that is the lesson I think. We are all trained in how to manage these incidents and it only takes a second to put it in to practice. When it happens though there is a big denial factor. Whatever you do, don't hesitate and just rely on your training.

To quote someone on here, safe diving everyone.

Best

Kev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Read this thread with interest. My bend was almost certainly caused by bubbles shunting via a PFO which was thankfully fixed on the good old NHS. Dive profile was textbook, just into Deco as we ascended the shot and the 4 minutes called for completed. Fell ill on the boat and very grateful for the attention given to me by my buddies with O2 promptly supplied and I was nagged to drink lots of water.
My symptoms were chest pains and difficulty breathing plus a severe back pain. Unfortunately, the coastguard only heard the first 2 and treated it as Cardiac, sending the chopper to the nearest hospital in Elgin instead of the Chamber in Aberdeen. 5 hours later they phoned the chamber and were told to ship me down. Took another 4 hours to organise and get me there by which time I had lost the use of my right leg! 7.5 hours in the pot improved it and a further 2 sessions got me walking properly again.
My point is that PFOs can lead to any type of bend caused by bubbles shunting into the arterial system. Once there, it is where they lodge that will determine the symptoms.
Incidentally, it was Peter Wilmhurst who diagnosed my PFO and arranged for the closure.

Steve
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top