Hypoxia Injuries in Commercial Divers
Commercial diving is a dangerous occupation. Divers must complete extensive training and certification before they can even begin to acquire the experience necessary for a commercial diving career. One of the most common hazards of diving is experiencing a lack of oxygen while underwater. Hypoxia is a condition where the body does not have an adequate mixture of oxygen in the bloodstream. Low oxygen can cause hypoxia to occur.
Underwater Breathing Equipment
Divers utilize special breathing apparatus that are designed to control the precise concentration of air that the diver breathes. The air tanks must be properly controlled to ensure that they are safe for use. The equipment has systems in place to warn of potential problems. When a diver is not getting enough oxygen, the situation can quickly deteriorate. When submersed in a deep area, it may take too long to resurface. In the meantime, the diver may not be receiving enough oxygen to sustain bodily functions.
Symptoms of Hypoxemia
Hypoxemia, also known as hypoxia, is a medical condition that occurs when the blood has insufficient oxygen. It is a dangerous medical emergency because if the situation is not quickly resolved the body will suffer damage to major organs, including the brain. There are various symptoms of hypoxemia such as rapid breathing, elevated heart rate and shortness of breath. When a diver experiences hypoxemia symptoms, it is imperative to get an immediate source of oxygen into the body.
If the diver is unable to quickly get a better air tank, he must immediately get to the surface. Hypoxemia can progress rapidly, especially when the oxygen concentration levels are very low. This could quickly cause the diver to become unconscious. Additionally, the diver could experience seizures and may lapse into a coma. The prognosis for recovery depends greatly on how quickly medical attention is provided.
Treatment and Prognosis
The prompt treatment of hypoxia is essential to a favorable medical outcome. The patient should be immediately put on oxygen which will quickly keep the situation from progressing. However, once the body has been deprived of oxygen, irreversible damage may be done. One of the most serious conditions is brain damage.
The physician will perform a number of tests to determine the extent and severity of the injuries. Some patients will be able to, at least partially, recover with extensive treatment, therapy, and training. In some cases, the patient will be permanently disabled due to the accident and will require ongoing lifetime care. The costs of medical care can be extremely high, especially if it is required for the rest of the patient’s life.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Injuries to commercial divers are often serious and expensive. Accidents such as these should not happen, and when they do, they are often because of the negligence of the employer. The Jones Act is national legislation that gives employees, including commercial divers, the ability to take legal action when they have been seriously injured.
A qualified commercial diver attorney will review the specific details of your accident to determine how to proceed. If you have been hurt in a diving accident, you could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, money for pain and suffering, and lost wages, among other damages. Call an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and get you the money you deserve.