Diver with bends is airlifted to hospital
A diver was airlifted 100 miles to a hospital decompression unit after suffering an attack of the bends.
The experienced diver, who lives near Hinckley, had spent Thursday morning at the National Diving Centre, in Stoney Cove, near Stoney Stanton, and did two dives.
After the 36-year-old had gone home he began suffering symptoms of decompression sickness – known as "the bends" – and sought medical advice.
The Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) crew was sent to the man's home.
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Dodging Thursday's torrential storms, the crew flew the man to the hyberbaric centre at the private Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital, in East Yorkshire.
A DLRAA spokeswoman said: "After discussing the situation with the National Diving Helpline, it was decided that the casualty should be taken to hospital for decompression treatment.
"The diver was then airlifted to Hull Hyperbaric Centre – one of nine category one hyperbaric centres in the UK.
"Decompression is not available at a normal hospital.
"herefore, it was imperative that an air ambulance was on hand to make the long journey to a specialist centre."
DLRAA paramedic Karl Bexon said: "It is certainly one of the more unusual cases I've been to. This is only the second suspected case of the bends that I have seen since working for DLRAA.
"Thankfully, we managed to bypass the storm that hit the north east and were able to transfer the patient smoothly and rapidly to the hyperbaric centre at Hull, where he will be treated in their decompression chamber."
Decompression sickness is caused by nitrogen bubbles forming in the bloodstream and tissues.
The bubbles occur if a diver moves from deep water towards the surface – where the pressure is lower – too quickly.
Symptoms occur soon after the dive has finished and, in the most serious cases, it can lead to unconsciousness and death.
A hospital spokesman said the man was still being treated there, but would give no further details of his condition.