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Need for Medical Fitness Examinations?*


Why A Medical Exam?

The only real reason for recreational divers to have an examination is to "maximize personal in-water safety". Other reasons possibly include the safety of others, limiting the progression of diseases (skin diseases), and prevention of long-term sequelae. Edmonds reported on 100 fatalities: 25 had known disqualifying factors --9 had been told not to dive.

Working divers have a need to anticipate the progression of natural disease, detect any long-term consequences of diving, check for other occupational requirements and protect the employers by ascertaining expected effective performance.


What is Fitness to Dive?

Australia and Malta

  • Insist that recreational divers have an exam by a doctor trained in diving medicine before taking any diving courses.
BSAC (British Subaqua Club)
  • Family practitioner assists filling out a special form and suggests referral to a BSAC "medical referee' who charges no fee.
France
  • Sports medicine doctors
North America
  • "Advisory" only. Physicians associated with hyperbaric chambers, emergency room doctors and DAN doctor members are usually knowledgeable about diving medicine and may give opinions and advice.



  • Links

    NOAA Fitness to Dive

    NOAA Diving Program

    NOAA Working Diver Minimum Fitness Requirements

    NOAA Diving Program Medical Standards

    NOAA Diving Programs Forms

    • Fitness to Dive: US Navy
    Navy Diver Screening Questionnaire

    Navy Diving Physical

    Fitness to Dive? When?

    Exams

    • Before training
    • Periodically
    • After surgery, diving accident, other illness or accident
    Medical assessment is enhanced by a physician who has any diving knowledge or is himself a diver.

     Diving Medical History and Physical Exams

    Fitness Problems

    • The novice diver
    • The asthmatic diver
    • The diabetic diver
        • Questions to ask the diabetic diver:
            • Any changes in insulin requirement over the past year?
            • Any hypoglycemia in the past year?
            • Any hospitalizations in the past year?
            • Is control well managed?
    • The physically handicapped
    • The aging diver
    • After head injury
    • The diver who has had CAGE or DCS with residual damage

    *Adapted from David Elliott, Medical Seminars




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     Ernest Campbell, MD, FACS All Rights Reserved.

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