The following symptoms after diving show a risk, and may require to contact a diving medical physician as soon as possible. We have a 24/7 schedule of diving medical physicians on duty.
- Red spots and a burning sensation in the skin (mostly located on shoulders, elbows, hips, knees or ankles), which could indicate a skin decompression sickness.
- Increasing pain in joints after diving (mostly located in shoulders, elbows, hips, knees or ankles), which could indicate a decompression sickness of the joints.
- Pain on the chest, irregular heartbeat, pallor, perspiration, coughing up bloody mucus, shortness of breath, coughing, blue appearance, heart failure, unconsciousness, or shock which could indicate a decompression sickness of the lungs.
- Paralysis, visual disorders, headache, speaking disorders, unconsciousness, tremors, uncoordination, balance disorders, dizziness, or a confused mental state, any of which could indicate a decompression sickness of the central nervous system.
Swift action is advisable. As soon as symptoms like the ones described above are imminent, it is advisable to seek expert diving medical consultation.
In case of a diving accident, the degree of recovery when treated with hyperbaric therapy will be more successful when treatment is received as soon as possible.
During office hours first contact will be Centro Medico Central (CMC) tel. 717-7140 and 717-7141. If staff are not immediately available to assist, or if it is outside normal office hours, contact the EMERGENCY department of the Hospital (SEH) tel 717-8900, ext 728.
The medical staff on duty at either location will explain what the next step will be.
TO BRING WITH YOU: the accompanying person should take along insurance documents, personal medical information, passport and credit card of the diver. If this documentation is not readily available, another accompanying person should deliver this information and documentation to the treatment location as soon as possible.
The diver should come to CMC or SEH with an accompanying person, by own transportation, taxi or ambulance. Preliminary examination will be done on that location by the diving medical physician on duty.
After the first examination of the diver, the diving medical physician has to decide if the divers complaints are diving related, or caused by other (non-diving related) factors. Sometimes divers become ill underwater (heart attack, near drowning, stroke etc.) and have to be treated in the Intensive Care by the cardiologist or neurologist. When the diagnosis is either type 1 or type 2 decompression sickness, the diving medical physician will advise treatment with hyperbaric oxygen in the recompression chamber. The initial treatment will usually be a USNAVY treatment table 5 (2½ hours) or table 6 (5 hours).
The recompression chamber building is located near the hospital (behind the CMC clinic).