[abstract] DO DIVERS IN TROUBLE DROP THEIR WEIGHT BELTS OR INTEGRATED WEIGHTS? A LOOK AT THE DITCHING OF WEIGHTS IN FATAL RECREATIONAL DIVING ACCIDENTS

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[abstract] DO DIVERS IN TROUBLE DROP THEIR WEIGHT BELTS OR INTEGRATED WEIGHTS? A LOOK AT THE DITCHING OF WEIGHTS IN FATAL RECREATIONAL DIVING ACCIDENTS

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Title: [abstract] DO DIVERS IN TROUBLE DROP THEIR WEIGHT BELTS OR INTEGRATED WEIGHTS? A LOOK AT THE DITCHING OF WEIGHTS IN FATAL RECREATIONAL DIVING ACCIDENTS
Author: Caruso, JL; Uguccioni, DM; Ellis, JE; Dovenbarger, JA; Bennett, PB
Abstract: BACKGROUND: One tenet of recreational dive training is to jettison the weights when in trouble in order to decrease the risk of serious injury or even death. Most dive training organizations teach this as one of the first emergency procedures a diver should perform when in trouble. It has not been the authors' experience that this recommendation is followed, based on anecdotal evidence. The Divers Alert Network (DAN) collects and analyzes all available information on diving related fatalities and makes recommendations that promote safe diving. METHODS: The DAN recreational diving fatality report form has a response directed at whether the diver or someone rendering assistance to a diver in trouble jettisoned the weights. The DAN recreational diving fatality database was queried for compliance in the recommendation that the weights be removed during an emergency situation. DAN staff and a physician who is both a diving medical officer and a forensic pathologist reviewed all cases. RESULTS: DAN collected data on 418 diving fatalities for 1998-2002; information regarding the removal of the weight belt or integrated weights is known in 285 (68percent) cases. Of those 285 fatalities, the diver or someone rendering assistance removed the weights in only 43 (15percent) cases. A small percentage of divers suffered a sudden, incapacitating cardiac event. However, based on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the majority of divers had time to remove the weights. CONCLUSIONS: In the vast majority of fatal recreational diving accidents the weight belt or integrated weights are still in place when the diver is removed from the water. Despite training to the contrary, the diver rarely ditches the weights, nor do those who render assistance to the stricken diver. Contributing factors likely include panic as well as inadequate training and practice of emergency procedures
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/1538
Date: 2004

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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