[caption id="attachment_457" align="alignleft" width="112" caption="Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit medical, education and research organization dedicated to the safety and health of scuba divers.."]DAN Logo[/caption]

(Originally posted on CCRJosh.com)

This is more of a resource than an article. I did not come up with this exam- it is taken from the DAN website. If you are not a member of DAN, I would highly recommend supporting the research that the organization is conducting. See the DAN website for more information. One can find dozens of well written articles, theories and algorithms about how NOT to get bent. Everything from advanced mathematical algorithms, to "ratio deco" models to the standard Navy tables. What seems to be lacking, are articles and resources about what to do when we DO suspect any form of decompression illness. Whether you follow all the "rules" or not, if you participate in diving, especially tech diving, enough, chances are some day you will suspect a pressure related injury. I am a strong advocate of teaching my students, and learning myself, the best way to AVOID these types of injuries. We will not worry about the differences between decompression illness (DCI) and decompression sickness (DCS)- because it really does not matter to us, the diver. The first aid for both of them is the same. What I am trying to help facilitate, is 1) the determination of whether you actually need to seek treatment and 2) What can you do to help minimize the injury and help treat the injury (this will come in Decompression Illness? - Part 2). Disclaimer: You should always seek professional counsel in any circumstance where DCI might be suspected. That being said, we have a tool that can help us determine if what we are experiencing is, in fact a serious injury to out central nervous system (CNS). Many decompression procedure courses teach about a "5 min" or "on-site" neurological exam. Examination of an injured diver's CNS soon after an accident may provide valuable information to the physician responsible for treatment. Again I must stress the fact that if you suspect any injury, please seek professional medical advice. I have taken the DAN On-Site Neurological Exam and formatted it in a way that it will fit on one page (front and back) and have room for notes and details. Included in the exam are full detailed instructions that even an untrained person can follow. The more information we can record, the more informed the physician providing final treatment will be. Feel free to download, print and use this exam. [caption id="attachment_466" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="On-Site Neurological Exam PDF"][/caption] Hopefully none of us will have to use this any time soon, but we should all have a copy in our logbooks at least!