Oct 8, 2020
Man remains deformed after a diving accident
An accident at sea forced diver Alejandro Ramos to rush to the surface, violating the decompression stages necessary to safeguard the health and physical integrity of divers, which brought terrible consequences such as bodily deformity.
Alejandro Ramos, a Peruvian citizen, dedicated his professional life to the sea, both as an artisan diver and as a sailor, he is suffering from a great physical disorder as a result of his profession: his body swelled until he was deformed, being unable to work and carrying a severe social stigma due to your appearance.
The diver is known by his companions as Willy, who was working looking for mussels in Puerto Viejo de Pisco, Peru when a huge cargo ship cut his air hose. The diver had to swim quickly 36 meters to surface, however when Unable to wait for a slow decompression, a process that all divers undergo before surfacing, nitrogen bubbles were permanently lodged inside his chest and arms.
This dangerous phenomenon is known as decompression syndrome or nitrogen narcosis and it often occurs in divers who skip the decompression process at depths greater than 15 meters. Alejandro was lucky since the consequences of this phenomenon generally lead to death, he is the only person who has survived nitrogen narcosis, therefore the only one who suffers the ravages of his survival.
The first symptom that the diver presented were minor ailments to which he decided not to give importance to them, this sensation was due to the gradual accumulation of nitrogen in his body. Little by little his back, shoulders and breasts were deformed and the discomfort increased.
Currently, 5 years after his accident, the joint pain he has is excruciating and he is awaiting a hip operation and hyperbaric treatment of more than 100,000 dollars. Alejandro, who was the financial supporter of his four children and two sisters, had to stop working due to his condition. At night he has to take pills to relieve pain and hypertension, another consequence of his work accident.
His body weight has increased more than 30 kilos since the tragic event, this has caused many conflicts in his social life and emotional health. As soon as his partner found out, he decided to end their relationship, not without first pointing it out and making fun of his appearance. This led to deep depression and social isolation.
Alejandro has been able to treat some ailments at the Peruvian Society of Hyperbaric Medicine, in Pisco. Where the doctor specializing in hyperbaric surgery at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pisco, Miguel Alarcón, explained that Alejandro’s body produced so much nitrogen when rising from the depths, this element was introduced into his muscles and lodged in bags that cannot be extracted. because they are attached to his flesh. According to the doctor, you need at least 100 hyperbaric chamber sessions to detoxify the blood and eliminate nitrogen bubbles.
What is Decompression Syndrome?
Decompression sickness (acronym DCS) is a decompression sickness resulting from the formation of bubbles within the bloodstream or tissues and is caused by the failure to eliminate inert gas (nitrogen). The disease can occur following scuba diving, exposure to high pressures or even as a result of rapid pressure loss in the cabin of an aircraft.
In predisposed subjects, decompression sickness can also arise after a dive carried out within the so-called safety curve (a relationship between depth and dive times that do not allow an excessive accumulation of nitrogen in the body) or despite the strict compliance with the stops decompression (stops established at certain altitudes based on exceeding certain depths and diving times to dispose of excessive accumulations of nitrogen). This happens because the factors that can cause excessive absorption – or insufficient disposal – of inert gases are different and depend both on the diver’s physical condition and training, and on the external environment (e.g. stress and fatigue of the diver in immersion and / or cold water temperature).
Prevention and treatment
Conservative diving by divers should be carried out using the decompression tables respecting the times indicated or, if using a dive computer, taking care never to get too close to the no-decompression limits, especially in the case of diving. extended beyond 30 meters in depth. Continued or sudden efforts during the dive, as well as after surfacing, stressful situations, particularly cold water, increase the risk of DCS.
As for the treatment, the only method is the immediate administration of pure oxygen (ideally the victim should breathe 100% pO2), to continue until the arrival in hospital or in any case for as long as possible and the use of the hyperbaric chamber, since through the recompression the gas bubbles present in the blood vessels are resaturated, and subsequently with the use of specific therapeutic decompression tables with subsequent stages at lower pressures the gases are desaturated. Due to the particular complexity and related risks, it is usually always necessary to rely on a hyperbaric center managed by technicians and anesthetists.