Sunday, June 18, 2006

Teen Injured After Sucking In Divers Carbon Dioxide

A TV news report makes it unclear as to the cause of a swimmer's injury in Volusia County Florida. The injured 17 year old is said to have coughed blood upon surfacing and when taken to the hospital - treated in the hyperbaric chamber. A short report and video can be seen at this web site:

CO2 poisoning would certainly be a possibility but coughing up blood is not a symptom of CO2 poisoning.

Pockets of air in a cave chamber can accumulate from expired compressed air from scuba divers, among other causes. This air can contain less oxygen and more CO2 than ambient air - and can have insufficient O2 for oxygenation. More likely what happened is that the swimmer gave out of air, found a pocket of air at depth and then surfaced holding his breath, thereby sustaining pulmonary barotrauma with gas embolism. The process occurs in as little as four feet of water and can be deadly.

Addendum: Rik Rosken, one of our long time readers writes to say that the article also got his attention. " I also personally contacted the reporter and this seem to be a case of AGE due lung overpressure due breath-holding after breathing compressed
air at depth from the air pocket."

See also:

Testing Cave Air Quality